US-China trade issue 'politicized'
Updated: 2012-05-25 15:56
KUALA LUMPUR - The trade issue between the United States and China is highly politicized and should be resolved through negotiations within international bodies, according to a large American multinational.
Caterpillar Inc, the world's largest earth-moving equipment maker, which is ranked 46th in Fortune 500, has said that instead of hurling allegations of wrongdoing against one another, trade disputes among countries "should be solved through an appropriate trade review process" within the World Trade Organization.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Caterpillar Asia president Kevin Thieneman said that every country faces its own internal political agenda, adding that the US is now heading for an election.
Thieneman, who was in Kuala Lumpur recently to attend the second Asia Pacific Economic Council business advisory group meeting, said that it is only natural that US officials to defend their companies to preserve jobs, particularly now that America has a big unemployment rate.
The US has imposed of a 31 percent tariff on solar panels imported from China in a move to protect American companies who could not compete with Chinese firms. The imposition of the tariff was made amid accusations that China is dumping cheap goods to the detriment of the manufacturing sector in the US aside from losing local jobs.
Chinese officials have called the US move as unfair and a "lose-lose" decision.
In a recent speech, US President Barack Obama has announced tax breaks for companies who ship jobs back home as part of solving the country's unemployment problem. Caterpillar, which has a substantial presence in China, said it would continue to expand its presence in the Asia Pacific region.
It has 17 factories operating in China and nine others are being built or planned.
The company has launched its second manufacturing plant in Thailand on Thursday and production at the plant would begin late next year. Products it manufactured in China are mostly sold in the mainland, with around 10 percent of them exported.
"As a company we're always focused on improving competitiveness. That's our message wherever we look to start an investment as we have recently done in Thailand," Thieneman said.
The company's sales and revenues in 2011 grew at the highest pace of 41 percent in more than six decades to $60.13 billion from the previous year. Its profit soared 83 percent to $4.9 billion. The company has more than $70 billion in assets.