TRENTON – The history of making “stuff” in New Jersey is pretty rich.
There’s an iconic sign here reading “Trenton Makes -The World Takes,” and then, of course, there’s no less a personage than Alexander Hamilton who founded Paterson as the nation’s first industrial center.
But Hamilton never had to deal with China’s theft of U.S. property.
It was that challenge that brought Rep. Mikie Sherrill and an array of government, business and union officials together Monday morning to talk about an initiative to combat the unsavory steps China uses to its advantage in global competition.
As Sherrill said, fair competition is one thing, but China’s alleged stealing of computer technology and the use of forced labor is not.
The congresswoman from CD-11 in North Jersey journeyed south to Thomas Edison State College to trumpet the American Jobs and Competition Plan, a legislative package aimed to strengthen the U.S. economy in the face of competition from China and its Communist Party.
Sherrill sits on a House committee specifically designed to help the U.S. compete more effectively with China.
Discussed today was what she called the “first pillar” of a plan to do just that. She said it was a “call to action” in response to China’s “Made in China 2025” plan, which has a goal of making China the global leader in technology and innovation. More pillars of that plan will come soon.
The first pillar of the resolution announced today highlights details of China’s 2025 plan, documents China’s unfair trade practices and urges – in short – for all segments of the U.S. economy to prepare for a serious threat.
Supportive comments came from Tom Bracken, the president & CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and Michele Siekerka, the CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. Both groups, generally speaking, lean to the right.
Sherrill also praised what she said were the accomplishments of the Biden Administration in regard to improving manufacturing in the country.
As examples, she mentioned the infrastructure bill, the CHIPS Act, which is designed to promote the manufacture of microchips in America, and the Inflation Reduction Act.
The first two bills were adopted with some Republican support.
If there was a theme of the get together, it was that both parties need to agree on the need to level the playing field with China.
Sherrill’s idea has been endorsed by Republican Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, the committee chair.
Very little in Washington these days is bipartisan, but dealing with China may be.