To the editor:

As the US trade deficit with China continues to grow ($235 billion in 2006) and for the first time in almost five years the number of jobs available in the USA has declined (January 2008), it is time to recognize how important it is to buy products that are made in the USA.

This growing trade deficit eliminated 1.8 million U.S. jobs between 2001-2006. The largest retailer in the world (Wal-Mart) which also happens to be the largest company in the world, is responsible for $27 billion in U.S. imports from China in 2006. Very large manufacturers of goods have been pressured to move manufacturing facilities to China in order to have lower overhead to meet the pricing expectation of the world's largest retailer (some of these manufacturers now manufacture lower-quality goods than they did when they manufactured in the USA).

The manufacturing sector and its workers were hardest hit by the growth of the largest retailer's imports; their increased trade deficit with China eliminated 133,000 manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing sector jobs generally pay higher wages and better benefits than most other industries.

As consumers purchase lower-priced goods that were manufactured outside of the USA the cycle is started where higher-paying jobs in the community are replaced with lower paying jobs and the quality of lives are impacted. There are 293 million people living in the United States. If each one of us would shift $20 a month in spending from foreign-made products to American-made products, that could create 5 million new jobs.

Ken Krohn

Baker City