How often do we hear Trump talk about how China is killing us? Well, as it turns out, Trump isn’t helping the situation. In fact, as reported by Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald, during the last couple of construction projects, Trump chose to use foreign Chinese steel over American made steel to save money.
A Newsweek investigation has found that in at least two of Trump’s last three construction projects, Trump opted to purchase his steel and aluminum from Chinese manufacturers rather than United States corporations based in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.
One major project, the Trump International Hotel in Vegas, went through a series of companies and locations that made it none too apparent that Trump was purchasing his goods through Chinese companies.
According to government documents, the Chinese entity chosen by Trump to provide steel for the Las Vegas property is a holding company called Ossen Innovation Co. Ltd.–formerly known as Ultra Glory International Ltd. That British Virgin Islands entity in turn owns a second holding company called Ossen Innovation Materials Group Ltd., which, through a complex legal arrangement, indirectly owns Ossen Innovation Materials Co. Ltd., and through it, Ossen (Jiujiang) Steel Wire & Cable Co. Ltd., the operating business located in Shanghai. With such layers upon layers of corporate shells and divisions, builders like Trump can purchase their steel from less-expensive Chinese suppliers without the ultimate supplier being readily apparent. That steel was then used in the construction of the Las Vegas property.
Trump apparently purchased Chinese steel for the International Hotel in Chicago as well.
For the Chicago project, tracing the metal back to China is once again a difficult process. To construct the exterior panels, Trump hired an entity called Permasteelisa Cladding Technologies Ltd., which is based in Connecticut. That company, in turn, is a division of Permasteelisa North America Corp., which, despite its name, has been identified by the American government as an importer of steel, aluminum and other metals from its affiliated companies, Permasteelisa South China Factory and Permasteelisa Hong Kong Limited.
Eichenwald estimates that due to Trump’s choice of going with Chinese steel in Chicago, American companies lost out on more than $350 million dollars. A shame when you consider that some metal producing American companies are going out of businesses due to China willing to taking a loss on their sales in order to drive American companies under.
There’s also another danger in working with Chinese metal producers. It strengthens their government.
When Americans like Trump purchase their steel through Ossen, they are providing financial benefits to an array of Chinese companies and even the government. For example, Ossen corporate records show Chinese banks provide all of its short-term financing in the form of loans that almost all mature after one year, and then are replaced by new loans; most Chinese banks are arms of the state, tightly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, and provide financing to companies that are competitors to American manufacturers in other industries.
In short, Trump bypassed the blue color workers and American businesses he claims to champion in order to pocket more cash by buying from the Chinese businesses and government he rails against.