(06/12/05) Clyde Prestowitz in the Charlotte Observer
6/12/05 Charlotte Observer (N.C.)
2005 WLNR 9324773
Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright 2005 The Charlotte Observer
June 12, 2005
Scared by China's high-tech boom?
Scared by China's high-tech boom? Think new free-trade pacts are a
threat? Biggies are talking the tough issues of foreign competition in
the Carolinas -- and they don't agree.
Lou Dobbs, CNN anchor and outspoken opponent of outsourcing, speaks
Wednesday at a Raleigh forum on the N.C. economy. Members of the
General Assembly, state Supreme Court and business leaders -- including
Dan DiMicco, chief of Charlotte-based Nucor steel -- will take part.
The Insider traded e-mails with Dobbs on topics of his talk. "North
Carolina has lost nearly two-thirds of its textile jobs, or 173,000
workers, since 1991," Dobbs wrote. "That figure may only increase if
our government passes the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which
represents a clear challenge to North Carolina's textile industry."
Another major concern of Dobbs' -- and DiMicco's -- is China's currency.
"The Chinese currency has been pegged to our dollar for more than a
decade, and it's widely believed the yuan is undervalued by anywhere
from 15 to 40 percent," Dobbs wrote. "Yet our Treasury Department says
it will not `have a firm view' of the value of the yuan until its next
currency report in October. I'd say it's time for the Treasury
Department to get a firm grip."
On Tuesday, author Clyde Prestowitz talked his book "Three Billion New
Capitalists" to the World Affairs Council in Charlotte. His view: We
are too in debt to the Chinese, but there are opportunities for the
U.S. He said we need to adjust by paying our debts, consuming less and
fighting to keep high-tech factories here.
Mark Vitner, an economist with Wachovia, believes an economy like
Charlotte's can remain flexible by retraining workers when needed and
pursuing new opportunities. Every expert we spoke to agreed on one
thing: We have to fix the schools to remain competitive. Next year, CMS
begins teaching a few classes in Mandarin Chinese. An immersion program