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View Full Version : Buy American during stimulus? Not with rubbers



behindmydesk
03-23-2009, 10:14 AM
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/64577.html

Call it a condom conundrum.

At a time when the federal government is spending billions of stimulus dollars to stem the tide of U.S. layoffs, should that same government put even more Americans out of work by buying cheaper foreign products?

In this case, Chinese condoms.

That's the dilemma for the folks at jobs, the government is switching to cheaper off-shore condoms, including some made in China.

In a move expected to cost 300 American the U.S. Agency for International Development, which has distributed an estimated 10 billion U.S.-made AIDS-preventing condoms in poor countries around the world.

But not anymore.

The switch comes despite assurances over the years that the agency would continue to buy American whenever possible.

"Of course, we considered how many U.S. jobs would be affected by this move,” said a USAID official who spoke on the condition that he would not be named. But he said the reasons for the change included lower prices (2 cents versus more than 5 cents for U.S.-made condoms) and the fact that Congress dropped “buy American language” in a recent appropriations bill.

Besides, he said, the sole U.S. supplier — an Alabama company called Alatech — had previous delivery problems under the program.

It's clear that Alatech's problems over the years, which apparently have been resolved, may have driven U.S. officials to seek much less expensive foreign-made condoms in the first place.

But that's cold comfort to Fannie Thomas, who has been making AIDS-preventing condoms in southeastern Alabama for nearly 40 years in the small town of Eufaula.

“We pay taxes down here, too, and with all this stimulus money going to save jobs, it seems to me like they (the U.S. government) should share this contract so they can save jobs here in America,” Thomas said.

Thomas and others at the Alatech plant said there aren’t many alternatives for them if it closes down, which is a likely result of the contracting switch.

In fact, the government is close to accepting condoms from two offshore companies: Unidus Corp., which makes condoms in South Korea, and Qingdao Double Butterfly Group, which makes them in China.

behindmydesk
03-23-2009, 10:15 AM
I was dismayed when the buy American language was taken out. But didn't the EU threaten a lawsuit over that?

I know the steal mills were big on the buy American, since they have a lot at stake.

ari1013
03-23-2009, 10:48 AM
I was dismayed when the buy American language was taken out. But didn't the EU threaten a lawsuit over that?

I know the steal mills were big on the buy American, since they have a lot at stake.
Yeah the "Buy American" language wasn't exactly conducive to our trade deals, but it's something that we as individuals can do on our own.

I'd be willing to pay 3 cents more per wrap if it keeps jobs here.

behindmydesk
03-23-2009, 10:52 AM
Yeah the "Buy American" language wasn't exactly conducive to our trade deals, but it's something that we as individuals can do on our own.

I'd be willing to pay 3 cents more per wrap if it keeps jobs here.

Not me. It has nothing to do with the price. I hate condoms!

dbroncos78087
03-23-2009, 12:02 PM
I think the Chinese should put "Buy Anywhere" initiatives in their laws with condoms...

ari1013
03-23-2009, 12:41 PM
Not me. It has nothing to do with the price. I hate condoms!
Then it doesn't affect you personally at all. But for a lot of people that use them, the value probably out-does the 3 cents in added costs.