U.S. exports to China have jumped more than 500 percent over 10 years, notably from the districts of some of Beijing's harshest critics in Congress, a sharp contrast that some China watchers hope will cool Capitol Hill's mounting anti-China rhetoric.
The U.S.-China Business Council on Tuesday is releasing a tally of exports from all 435 congressional districts that shows exports from 420 of them had higher growth in exports to China in 2011 than they did to other markets around the globe.
Much of the growth came in districts represented by Beijing's loudest critics, like Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents Akron, Ohio, and who's pushed to levy duties on China for refusing to reform its currency and who slapped the U.S. Olympic Committee for making Team USA's uniforms in China. According to excerpts of the report provided to Secrets, Ryan's district exported $131 million worth of goods to China in 2011, a 494 percent jump since 2002.
The Northern Virginia district of Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, a critic of a Chinese telecom firm, shipped goods worth $136 million to China last year, a 536 percent jump since 2002.
And the Toledo, Ohio, district of Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur exported $106 million to China last year, a 379 percent nine-year jump, despite her criticism of China's tax on U.S. auto imports.
The U.S.-China Business Council did not criticize any members in their fact-based report. But other China watchers told Secrets that the boost in exports should be nurtured, not criticized by lawmakers. "When an economy is looking for growth it makes little sense to be so critical of a major trading partner," one expert said.
Five Washington state districts are among the top 10 exporters, shipping a total of $8.6 billion in 2011, the list shows. Said U.S.-China Business Council Vice President Erin Ennis: "Exports to China contribute to America's economic recovery and support good jobs for American workers."
Study: Kitties kill 500 million birds, should be regulated
Pet kitties and their wild feral relatives kill a shocking 500 million birds and more than 3 billion other animals, according to new studies that prompted a leading Washington-based bird protection group to demand that local governments order their dog catchers to snag wild cats too.
One disturbing new study is based on evidence from "KittyCams" strapped on to 60 outdoor pet cats in Athens, Ga. The results: They each averaged 2.1 "kills" a week. Just 13 percent were birds, the rest were voles, lizards, chipmunks, frogs and small snakes.
While it would be hard to get cat owners to keep their pets inside, the American Bird Conservancy wants cat lovers and local governments to stop coddling feral cats and round them up. "Wildlife are being slaughtered and so often community leaders only seem to express concern for the cats," conservancy spokesman Robert Johns told Secrets.
Mainstream scream: Romney's gaffe patrol
Our weekly look at the loudest screech from the mainstream media features GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's press corps peppering him with questions about "gaffes" made during his three-country trip as he visited the Poland's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They yelled: "Gov. Romney, are you concerned about some of the mishaps of your trip?" and "What about your gaffes?" and "Gov. Romney, do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?"
Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "As Susan Milligan of U.S. News observed, 'The reporters behaved terribly.' Indeed, you couldn't ask for a better parody of journalists obsessed over the trivial. They declare something a gaffe and then pound away at it oblivious to the setting."
Rating: Four out of five screams.
Paul Bedard, The Examiner's Washington Secrets columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears each weekday in the Politics section and on washingtonexaminer.com.