The documentary, “Death by China,” narrated by Dayton-native Martin Sheen will be shown in Beavercreek starting todayfor a seven-day run.
University of California-Irvine economist and author Peter Navarro is showing the film — based on his book by the same name in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia after showings here — in a bid to intensify the debate over off-shoring.
The film will show at the Regal Commons Fairfield 20 today. An event will be Saturday night starting at 7 p.m., with a town hall-style discussion after the film. Theatrical releases are in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, and Youngstown with special showings in Chillicothe, Lima, and Marietta and events in factories and on university campuses and union halls.
International trade policy has lit the Ohio campaigns of GOP challenger Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama as unemployment levels remain high. In July at an appearance in Maumee, Obama announced a U.S. challenge to China’s tariffs on more than $3 billion in American-made automobiles exports as Romney unleashed a fusillade of TV commercials saying he will be more aggressive in standing up to China. Obama’s campaign has implicated Romney in off-shoring jobs to China when he ran a private equity firm.
Navarro, who says he’s neutral in the presidential race, says the economy is stuck in neutral because we import too much of our consumer products from abroad and have run a huge annual trade deficit with China of nearly $300 billion. China, Navarro argues, benefits from using artificial trade barriers and currency manipulation to keep U.S. products out, instead dumping Chinese goods here underwritten by illegal government subsidies. The situation stopped the creation of 20 million U.S. jobs in a decade, Navarro said.
“The goal of the ‘Death By China Swing State Tour’ is to make trade reform with China the most important issue of the 2012 elections,” Navarro said. “We hope to give the highest possible visibility to an issue that is all too often ignored by politicians, journalists and consumers alike – the incredibly corrosive loss of America’s once formidable manufacturing base to a cheating China.”
Navarro’s thesis is opposed by advocates of free trade agreements like the Washington D.C.-based Club for Growth, which lobbies for deregulation and limited government.
“When people are free to buy from and invest with each other, they can achieve far more than when governments control markets so having free trade agreements provide benefits to everybody,” spokesman Barney Keller said.
Navarro is calling for a boycott of Chinese goods. He links the closure of 60,000 U.S. factories in a decade to off-shoring by U.S. multinationals to China and elsewhere. He calls Ohio “ground zero” for the destruction because of its heavy manufacturing base and small to mid-size companies that make up the supply chain. Ohio lost 3,500 factories in a decade, federal records show, and a third of its manufacturing employment.
In July 2012, the monthly goods deficit with China rose to $29.4 billion, up from $27.4 billion in June - the fifth straight month of a rising trade deficit with China.