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Joseph Meuse

Joseph Meuse

Posted: July 21, 2009 03:26 PM

Beware of China Buying U.S. Assets -- Is It Too Late for America?


As the president and founder of an international financial consulting company that works closely with Chinese companies seeking to go public on U.S. stock market exchanges, I see the enormity of China's global financial influence and power on a daily basis. American assets are at such low historical values, they are prime targets for China. China's international reserves are over $2 trillion and the potential of what China can buy in the United States is colossal. I fear it may be too late for America, but I strongly believe as a nation that we should be significantly more concerned and proactive about protecting our assets.

I'm a proud American businessman and father committed to ensuring a bright future for my children. I grew up hearing and believing that America is the richest and most entrepreneurial country in the world. Today, as I travel to China regularly and see the entrepreneurial zeal and energy of the Chinese, I no longer believe that America is the golden land. We need a collective kick in the pants to help us figure out how to reinvent our economy and rebuild our collective, national self-esteem.

In June, I was interviewed by Fox Business Network's Alexis Glick about China's shopping for assets in the U.S., including their pending purchase of the Hummer brand and sizable stake in U.S. Treasury bills along with former GM Executive and consultant Rob Kleinbaum. Kleinbaum said he believed that the sale was a positive development for the U.S. as it would create more jobs in the U.S.

The idea of Americans selling a major brand such as Hummer and justifying it by saying this sale creates jobs here in the U.S. makes little sense to me. Creating assets and being more competitive globally is how you increase employment in the U.S. You can't sell assets in perpetuity to create jobs. You cannot sell off assets and survive long term.

In addition to talking the talk, we need to walk the walk toward real change. As the United States begins to start legislating that power companies generate more electricity from renewable sources, China has already invested billions to remake itself into a green energy super-power. China is already committed to the ensuring that their transportation infrastructure is world-class with 250 mph railroads while Americans hobble along with old-world railroads.

We will see China buying more and more major US assets over the years to come. Chinese investors who want to buy foreign assets below $10M now face little red tape and are encouraged to apply online while the Ministry of Commerce maintains oversight for the larger transactions. While aspiring American home-owners face almost insurmountable odds to secure a mortgage, and home builders struggle to secure credit lines, the Chinese, who were the fourth largest group of foreign buyers last year, snapped up homes across the U.S. at a median price of $450,000 according to the U.S. National Association of Realtors. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg. China's shopping spree in the United States has just begun.

I believe our best defense as Americans is to embrace the work ethic and values that made this country great. We need to be the most innovative and inventive and strive to continually conquer new markets. The Chinese work day and night to ensure their future is better and brighter for generations to come. Let's embrace that work ethic again here so we can ensure that America is a land of plenty for our children.

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