The epic Google-China standoff is wrapping up: Google, having refused to continue censoring its searches, is leaving the country--or rather China is pulling out the welcome mat. So why don't other American companies retaliate? This suggestion isn't coming from some two-bit blogger. Instead, it's coming from Gilbert Kaplan, Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. His headline says it all: "If China Throws Out Google, We Should Throw Out their Computers." Here are the highlights of his Huffington Post call to arms:
THE HISTORY BEHIND THIS SUGGESTION
The concept of reciprocity in trade has a long and storied history, and one that ought to be remembered today. Simply put, if we allow market access for the fruits of the great Chinese industrial machine, creating jobs for 100 million Chinese workers (the number of Chinese employed in manufacturing), they need to allow access to our creative enterprises, such as Google.
HOW WE'VE KEPT FAITH WITH CHINA SO FAR
There had been an implicit agreement about the internet ... The United States agreed to lower all its tariffs on high technology manufactured goods to zero, and we agreed to let in all that China could send over here, no questions asked. What is the result of that? The result is that substantially all United States computers are now made in China. ...
Why? Because we believed that as China industrialized and moved along the economic and knowledge highway they would become a great market for those goods where we continue to have an advantage, things like search engines, and streaming video, and innovative web sites.
HOW THEY SCREWED US, AND WHY WE SHOULD STRIKE BACK
Reciprocity is what the trade agreements of the world are about. ... If China shuts out our internet companies, we need to shut out their hardware that the internet runs on.