Re-evaluating Chinese currency remains a bad idea
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Herbert Hoover is alive and well — and picking up his prescriptions at the local drug store.
(THE NEWS: Retailers urge Congress to reject Chinese currency legislation. For the full story, click here.)
Of course, he isn’t. But if he were, he might have some advice to offer current members of Congress and occupants of the White House based on his experience with the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, which attempted to rescue the U.S. economy by imposing tariffs on imported goods, but instead ignited a trade war that many historians blame for deepening the Great Depression.
The legislation to impose tariffs on Chinese imports as a way to force it to revalue the yuan is based on the assumption that China manipulates its currency to make its manufactured goods more competitive in the U.S. market. Thus, the reasoning goes, if China were to revalue the yuan, it would help American manufacturers by making Chinese imports more expensive and American goods more competitive in China, thereby helping to ease the U.S.-China trade deficit, which totaled $226.9 billion last year and has so far reached more than $145 billion this year, according to U.S. Census data.
But it’s not that simple. In 1930, the United States manufactured most of its own consumer goods; but that’s no longer true, and the bulk of consumer goods, from toys to digital cameras, now come from China. Also frequently lost in the melee is the fact that most of the supposedly Chinese goods are not Chinese at all, but rather products with American, Japanese, Korean and European brands that are assembled in China. Unlike in the 1970s and 1980s, when such Japanese companies as Sony were eating the lunch of such American counterparts as General Electric, the “Made in China” label now graces the products of both.
For that reason, if legislators imposed big tariffs on Chinese goods or if China dramatically revalued the yuan, it would simply force retailers to pass the extra costs to consumers. So after picking up his prescriptions, Hoover would find the digital camera he had planned to buy from behind the counter noticeably more expensive. While this would not likely lead to another Great Depression, it would certainly diminish consumers’ purchasing power.
As for the manufacturing jobs, many experts have said they would simply migrate to cheaper countries rather than returning to the United States. This trend already is under way in textiles, as many clothing companies have started moving factories from China to such countries as Bangladesh in response to the increasing costs of manufacturing in China.
NBTY shareholders OK adopting merger agreement
RONKONKOMA, N.Y. NBTY on Wednesday announced that its stockholders have approved the proposal to adopt the merger agreement providing for NBTY’s acquisition by an affiliate of The Carlyle Group.
The affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of common stock of NBTY was required to approve the proposal to adopt the merger agreement. According to the final tally of shares voted, approximately 50.5 million shares of common stock of NBTY voted for the approval of the proposal to adopt the merger agreement, representing approximately 79.6% of the outstanding shares of common stock of NBTY as of the close of business on Aug. 23, the record date for this vote.
Following the approval of the proposal to adopt the merger agreement by NBTY’s stockholders, all conditions to the closing of the merger set forth in the merger agreement have been satisfied (other than those conditions to be satisfied by action taken by the parties at the closing). Under the merger agreement, the affiliate of Carlyle is obligated to consummate the merger upon completion of the 20-day marketing period for the debt financing, which will commence on Sept. 23, but it is NBTY’s expectation that the merger could be completed as soon as the beginning of October.
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Bionovo receives CMC approval for Menerba
EMERYVILLE, Calif. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a manufacturing plan for a drug to treat hot flashes in menopausal women.
Bionovo said Thursday that the FDA had accepted its chemistry, manufacturing and controls plan for the drug Menerba. The decisions and agreements are considered binding on the company and the FDA.
“This CMC approval represents a revolutionary set of ‘firsts,’” Bionovo chairman and CEO Isaac Cohen said. “This is the first time that the FDA’s botanical drug development CMC guidance has been applied to an oral drug in a major indication.”
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