Want a story about how Chinese cheap labor can contribute to job creation in the US? Read on, yesterday’s page one from the Wall Street Journal, about how dirty-cheap apparel industry overseas, including in China, is shipping a lot of defective or counterfeit goods here that need to be fixed to enter US borders or get on the shelves. This has created enough, and new, business:
In late August, for instance, 17,000 denim pants made in a Chinese factory were confiscated at the port of Long Beach, after U.S. customs officials determined that zippers on the garments were counterfeits of a Japanese fastening brand called YKK.
To get out of the jam, a representative for the brand called on Mr. Forman. Fifteen employees headed to the warehouse and set up a makeshift factory, complete with lamps, tables and tools. They spent the next five days grinding off the fake YKK mark with handheld drills. Because the pants now had generic zippers — rather than counterfeit YKK’s — U.S. customs officials approved the change and let the jeans enter the country, just one week late…
Business for fix-it shops like Mr. Forman’s is so good that several competitors have popped up in Los Angeles and New York, and some U.S. garment companies are starting to open up their own emergency rooms in places such as China to cut out businesses like his. Mr. Forman says there’s enough business — that is, mistakes — for everyone.
“Perfection is a fantastic goal,” he says. “But, hey, it’s never going to happen.” [Full Text, subscribers only]