Commentary by Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association
The tensions with China over the downed U.S. surveillance plane, hostages and arms sales to Taiwan, remind us that free trade with a Communist country can never be presumed. Despite our recent celebration of passage of permanent normalized trade relations (PNTR) with China, we face a real possibility of angry legislators imposing barriers to trade with China.
The electronics industry relies so heavily on trade with China that a block on imports would severely harm certain product categories and several companies. Any company that assumes China cares more about trade than ideology may be overly focusing on their business contacts in China and ignoring the fact that real decision-making resides with a handful of party loyalists in Beijing. (Would businessmen have demanded an "apology" from the U.S.?) Indeed, any electronics company that puts all its eggs in the China basket may find Congress or the Administration smashing those eggs in response to international incidents that they can neither anticipate nor control.