US Manufacturing and China

Disclaimer: This is an essay submission for the Fishbowl Supply Chain Management Scholarship and does not reflect the opinions of Fishbowl

How Can US Manufacturers Compete with Chinese Manufacturers?

– By Shannon Hubbard

Based on the political campaign and the debates of the candidates for president in 2016, the answer to this question may seem hazy. Some of the policies and procedures revolve around export and import trade that should change, as well as tax rates and inspection. Learning recently that rice from China (in some cases) contain plastic is unsettling – and unhealthy. This issue alone should provide a platform in the reformation of policy and procedural compliance and health codes. America has policy and procedural implementations that are geared toward a safer product, but this can pose a costly transition that eventually trickles down to the consumer.

The main reason that many buy products from China is the low cost, but what are you really getting? The products do not undergo the same testing required for American products requiring inspections for health and safety codes and ADA approval. If detailed information on the actual breakdown of foreign trade, policy and procedure vs. standard U.S. inspection and processes were made available, the public would have a better understanding of why it’s in their best interest to buy within the US. There is a large group of people who are buying products that are proven to not contain HMO and are cage-free animal environments.

Because people care about their health and the health of their families they stay up to date with information about the products they consume and recommend. The movement towards products is based on articles from medical studies, animal rights activists, and documentaries that provide truthful information about the processes our food undergoes, what is safe, and what can cause negative side effects and health problems. For example, the U.S. has policies against the use of lead in products due to health issues, but other countries do not necessarily have these same laws and may produce products that still contain harmful chemicals. Americans are still subject to these problems due to the fact that the regulations on foreign trade do not match the regulations that are put on American manufacturers. What comes into our country should have the same policy and procedures that we put on our manufacturers locally, providing safe and healthy products and services. Or they should at least contain a warning as to what they contain, giving the consumer a knowledge base of what their risks are with the product they are about the purchase.

"You get what you pay for" rings true today as it did before. Consumers do want to save money, but they are just as interested in being safe and healthy. We have a moral obligation to our citizens to provide them with products that are safe no matter where they come from, and by doing so we even the playing field for U.S.-based manufacturers. We outsource way more than we insource. More and more factories are being shut down and transferred to different counties where the cost of manufacturing is considerably lower

By not holding the foreign trade to the same standards as we do the U.S. manufacturers we are doing a disservice to our community and our economy. A higher standard and filter of product that comes into the United States is a must; it’s a dire need to increase productivity in the U.S. and bring back jobs to help the economy. Educating consumers to raise their expectations of products they buy outside the U.S. will increase their understanding of product regulations on manufacturers locally. Everyone should be able to trust that there is a policy and procedure in consumer safety and health regardless of where the products are made. As consumers, we need to hold our products to the highest of standards when deciding to purchase. Supporting U.S.-made products has become costly. There must be a balance between the expectations of exports and imports in cost and quality

Lean more about supply chain management: What Is Supply Chain Management?


To compete with Chinese manufacturers, U.S. manufacturers can emphasize their strengths, such as their high standards for health and safety, as well as better treatment of animals and avoidance of harmful chemicals. You get what you pay for, and this should be stressed as a strong selling point against China’s low prices and equally low quality.

Get a Demo