From America, With Love (Made in China)

[Nar Phu diary will be posted from tomorrow]

dinesh wagle hot zone cap

Caption? See the other pic below

I love wearing caps and I wear all kinds of caps (fav color: black) but I am not Kathmandu based photojournalist Min Bajracharya who has a big collection of caps that he wears, or Nepali pop singer Nabin K Bhattarai whose cap habit was so much in news until he took that off to reveal a partially bald head. Neither my cap habit is remotely similar to that of Indian singing sensation Himesh Reshammiya who never shows his head sans cap and that’s the subject of talks and newspaper articles. I had almost stopped wearing caps in the recent months but yesterday was a different day.

I received a box in my office that someone had brought from the post office: full items presented to me by the people in the United States. On behalf of Yahoo!’s “Kevin Sites In The Hot Zone” team, Lisa Liu had sent me t-shirts, caps and key rings for my contributing to the ‘mission’ when Kevin was here in Nepal earlier this year. Kevin’s year-long One Man Band journalism (SOJO) in major hot spots around the world ended recently and his back up team in Santa Monica, California wanted to acknowledge the cooperation he received from various local journalists like me. It was cool to receive those stuffs and they are all great. Thank you Hot Zone team! But something in the present compelled to write this blog. Caps and key rings were made in China where as t-shirts, it was printed, were crafted in Haiti. What a globalized world we live in! Someone from United States sends a present that is made in China to a person in Nepal. Plus, I am fascinated by the rising economic influence of China, Nepal’s close neighbor. Something sent from California is made in China. What if, my friend said, the caps were sent to Kathmandu directly from China? It would have been faster, he said, talking about the long journey that the caps made before landing on my head.

dinesh wagle hot zone cap

I am amazed by the pace in which China is becoming rich. When I was in the US in April this year, I bought a laptop computer (which I am using to type these lines) that was made in China. Many of the electronic accessories were Chinese made. Chinese economic influence is growing worldwide. (Recently China hosted several African Heads of States and Government leaders. I read with interest all those news about growing Chinese trade surplus and the complaints of United States and the European Union about the value of currency Yuan. Coincidently, I was reading a New York Times news report in International Herald Tribune. In the recent years, Indian economy is also growing rapidly and some Nepali columnists are already starting to wonder about the possible Chinese and Indian economic growth spilling over to Nepal. Nepal’s hydropower potential comes as an example in such columns and recent internal conference in Kathmandu has increased the hope of possible investment in Nepali rivers. Both China and India (especially India in our context) need energy and selling electricity to India will be one of the best options to take Nepali economy forward. Chinese companies are also interested in investing in our water. Lets hope for the best that we will get more benifits then caps from growing Chinese economic power. Again, thanks Yahoo! and “Kevin Sites In The Hot Zone”!

dinesh wagle hot zone cap

I am wearing Kevin Sites In The Hot Zone Cap and T-shirt presented to me by the SOJO’s team at Yahoo!

Related Blogs:
1. Backpack Journalist: Kevin Sites In Kathmandu

2. Meet the Rebels: Maoist Guerilla of Nepal

Here is the NYT news that I was reading yesterday evening:

China’s Trade Surplus Climbs Sharply

SHANGHAI, Nov. 8 — China said Wednesday that its trade surplus with the rest of the world had leapt to a record $23.8 billion in October, the latest sign of this country’s phenomenal rise as a trading superpower. The surplus, which blew past the previous record of $18.8 billion set in August, is almost certain to add to longstanding trade frictions with the United States and the European Union and lead to renewed calls for China to allow its currency to appreciate at a faster pace.

For the last few years, the Chinese economy has been growing at a blistering pace — as high as 10 percent. Its foreign currency reserves, the world’s largest, hit $1 trillion this week, and its factory floors are pumping out millions of toys, textiles, DVD players and laptop computers.

In the first nine months of this year, China says it has racked up a $133 billion surplus with the rest of the world, primarily with the United States and the European Union. In all of last year, China reported a record $101 billion surplus. Indeed, China’s surplus for the month of October was almost as big as its surplus for the entire year of 2004, which was $25.5 billion.

Another report from AP on rising Chinese trade surplus:

China Expects $150B Trade Surplus

BEIJING (AP) — China’s politically sensitive trade surplus should soar to a record $150 billion this year, nearly 50 percent above the 2005 level, according to Commerce Ministry figures reported Friday by a state news agency.

The figures were the government’s highest projection yet for the mounting trade gap, which has fueled strains with Washington and other trading partners. They are demanding that China open markets wider to imports and ease controls that they say keep its currency weak, giving its exporters an unfair price advantage.

The Commerce Ministry said exports this year are expected to total $960 billion this year, with imports rising to $810 billion, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

That would produce a deficit of $150 billion, up from $102 billion in 2005. The government said Wednesday that China’s monthly trade surplus hit a record monthly high of $23.8 billion in October. It was the fifth new monthly record this year. Both exports and imports are growing by double-digit rates, but import growth has slowed amid government efforts to cool off an investment boom that Chinese leaders worry could ignite a financial crisis.

The Commerce Ministry earlier forecast a trade surplus of at least $140 billion this year. The communist government has let its currency, the yuan, rise by about 3 percent against the U.S. dollar over the past 16 months.