The Fourth of July, Made in China

A growing number of July 4 fireworks and flags come from China.

By and + More

Now even the Fourth of July isn't safe from China's cheap labor exports. New government trade figures show that China has almost taken over the U.S. fireworks market. Worse, the communist nation is starting to push Betsy Ross aside to sell Old Glory.

In fact China, which has become America's banker and investor, will profit heavily from all the holiday celebration throughout the United States this weekend--to the tune of $201.5 million in flag and fireworks sales.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, here's how the figures break down:

  • In 2010, the U.S. imported $190.7 million in fireworks from China. That represents the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imports and puts China close to U.S. fireworks production, valued at $231 million in 2007. U.S. makers exported $37.0 million worth of fireworks in 2010.
  • Also in 2010, the U.S. imported $3.2 million of American flags. Most, $2.8 million worth, came from China, a first toehold in the $150 million domestic market for the Stars and Stripes, which American makers still command. U.S. exports were far lower, with the nation exporting only $486,026 in U.S. flags in 2010, a majority of which were purchased in Mexico.
  • Economists predict that China could overtake the United States this year as the world's biggest manufacturing nation by output. That means that, in celebrating the Fourth of July, Americans are in some small way helping speed that day along.

    That probably won't please Obama, who is selling for $25 a campaign T-shirt with his picture on the front over the words "Made in the USA."

    And just this week, Obama pushed his Made in America campaign during a speech in Iowa, telling workers at Alcoa, "I want the cars and planes and wind turbines of the future to bear the proud stamp that says 'Made in America.' That's what I want."

    • See the month's best editorial cartoons.
    • Check out our gallery of Whispers political caricatures.
    • See who's been visiting the White House.