China

How Wal-Mart (and Capitalism) Are Increasing the Standards of Chinese Exports

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It's a sloppy process, but this is exactly one of the ways that trade and markets work to increase the general quality of goods available: If you sell stuff that is sub-standard, much less dangerous, you'll go out of business.

Mike Duke, vice chairman of Wal-Mart's international division, said the company is expecting "greater transparency…from our supplier partners" [in China] beginning next month.

They will be required to "tell us the name and location of every factory they use to make the products we sell," according to Duke's prepared remarks delivered at a company conference in Beijing. "Essentially, we expect you to ask the tough questions, to give us the answers and, if there's a problem, to own the solution."

Wal-Mart will apply the new standards to apparel first and eventually use them on all its products, Duke said. No other details were given.

The measures by Wal-Mart, China's largest foreign retailer, come as confidence in Chinese exports has been shaken after a series of product safety scandals.

More here.

The net result of this sort of action will be an increase in the standards of living both for the people consuming Chinese goods and those creating them.