Report: Members of Obama's Job Panel Outsourced Jobs to China

Thursday, 06 Sep 2012 04:05 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Despite President Barack Obama’s attacks on Mitt Romney on outsourcing, several members of the president’s jobs-creation council manage or advise companies that import cheaper goods from overseas instead of buying American, U.S. trade records show.

Import records from the U.S. Commerce Department show that the companies affiliated with the 23 active and 3 ex-officio members of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness imported 12,366 shipments from China alone during the 18 months since they began advising the White House in January 2011.

The shipments totaled more than 20 billion pounds in weight, according to a review of the records by the Washington Guardian.

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Just over half the council members were linked to companies that reported Chinese imports ranging from bulk steel and furniture to airline parts, appliance electronics and cosmetics, the Guardian reports.

“Why is stuff outsourced?” asked James T. Bennett, a George Mason University economics professor. “The answer is, in those cases, the work abroad is much cheaper than it is in the United States. It’s market forces that create outsourcing of jobs, and it does not matter who is president. It is going to continue.”

The Commerce Department data do not indicate the value of the imports, and it is impossible to quantify what percentage of supplies the companies get from overseas. But some of the firms tied to Jobs Council members acknowledge it is significant.

Among the companies cited in the report were chemical giant DuPont, Boeing and the Hyatt hotel chain.

White House and Obama campaign officials declined to comment to the Guardian, despite repeated requests via email and phone. But representatives of the companies make no apologies and say the imports are simply a matter of bargain shopping.

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