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China Prefers Made in the USA

It’s no surprise that Americans prefer American-made products, but a new survey reveals something a bit more interesting: so do many Chinese. In a survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group, 47 percent of Chinese respondents “somewhat” or “absolutely” preferred goods from the United States. Furthermore, both the Chinese and Americans surveyed said they would pay slightly more for U.S. products when compared with Chinese counterparts. The WSJ’s Real Time Economics blog reports:

Willingness to splurge on U.S. imports varied depending on the product. Some were obvious choices. For instance, many Chinese — mindful of scandals involving food contamination — were willing to pay more for U.S.-made baby food. But other choices were more surprising: The Chinese were also willing to pay big premiums for U.S. made running shoes and mobile phones.

The study showed Americans are even more gung ho about U.S. made goods than the Chinese. Nearly 80% of Americans said they either “absolutely” or “somewhat” favored domestic goods over those made in China and 70% said they have picked U.S.-made goods over Chinese in the last month. Of course, Americans are notorious for saying they prefer U.S. goods, then opting for the bargain at the mall regardless of its origins.

But the researchers say they structured the questions with the appeal of lower prices in mind, and still found a strong partiality for U.S. products.

A Chinese trade official has admitted that the “Made in China” era is over, and says that China is moving toward higher-end manufacturing. But what happens if even the Chinese prefer higher-value products that are made in the United States? This may not spell disaster for Chinese manufacturers, but it’s certainly not an auspicious starting point.

This does, however, spell disaster for the oracles prophesying American decline. If the two largest economies in the world are united in thinking goods made in the United States are worth paying extra for, the American economy is probably not going to fall apart tomorrow.

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