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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 8th April 2016 > HOW CHINA WRECKED FREE TRADE

HOW CHINA WRECKED FREE TRADE

Trump isn’t totally wrong on this one!

FOR FIVE YEARS, the young man has worked the rolling mill that churns out slab after slab of highstrength steel products bound for auto mills and large construction sites across the country. His paycheck has risen slowly but steadily, and two years ago he bought a threebedroom house in a solidly middleclass suburb for himself and his family. And though the steel industry now suffers from overcapacity and is consolidating, he has little fear that his job will be affected. The company he works for is huge and profitable, and the mill in which he works is state of the art.

Cai Jinrong, in other words, is living the great middleclass Chinese dream. The company he works for is Baosteel. The house he owns is in suburban Shanghai. And to hear U.S. presidential candidates tell it, his relative success—and his company’s and his country’s—has come at the expense of his counterparts in the United States: lunchbucket workers in industries like steel and auto and machine tools—the metalbashing businesses that flourished in America after World War II and provided solidly middle-class lifestyles for a couple of generations of families.

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