CHINA’S MASSIVE PORT GRAB
Communists Positioning China To Dominate Trade in Americas
By Mark Anderson
American Free Press has confirmed that the huge Chinese shipping conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. has a significant presence at the Lazaro Cardenas seaport in Mexico, as well as other Mexican ports. The company has had effective control of both ends of the Panama Canal for the last seven years.
The Mexican ports link to the budding Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) toll road network by way of railroad cargo lines that head from the ports across Mexico to the United States border, providing a conduit to bypass U.S. West Coast seaports and haul ever-more massive quantities of imports into the United States.
The TTC is part of a planned vast network of tollways that, unless derailed by a growing number of concerned citizens, will ripple through many parts of the United States, functioning as a delivery network for goods flooding into the United States from foreign factories, although it appears U.S.-made goods would be exported via the same system.
Hutchison Whampoa’s Pacific Port at Lazaro Cardenas, located in the Mexican state of Michoacan, is especially significant. As reported by AFP on Dec. 18, 2006, officials from Lazaro Cardenas met in March 2006 with Kansas City, Mo., officials to sign “an historic cooperative trade agreement to establish a new trans-Pacific trade corridor that will alleviate delays and congestion at [U.S.] West Coast ports.”
This is another way of saying that at least part of the stream of imported merchandise flowing into those West Coast ports such as the one in Long Beach, Calif., could be redirected to the Cardenas port so these goods can be hauled into the United States with even greater efficiency.
Kansas City, located about 1,000 miles from the U.S.- Mexican border, has been slated as a major trade hub and U.S. Customs inspection location. As noted by Kansas City SmartPort Inc. President Chris Gutierrez, who was interviewed in early December by AFP, Kansas City has the infrastructure, location and overall assets to serve this function well.
Critics charge that having a major U.S. inspection point so far inland may create huge gaps in monitoring exactly what kinds of things are being shipped into the United States—which doesn’t sit well with American trucker-support groups such as Owner-Operated Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).
OOIDA warns that under-trained Mexican truck drivers, in their poorly inspected trucks, pose a danger on the highways and could help bring terrorist elements into the United States.
According to Hutchison Whampoa’s own web site, this shipping conglomerate has a single-berth terminal situated in the highly industrial, deep-water Lazaro Cardenas port and plans a second phase there, which “includes the development of an 85-hectare deep-water, green field site with 1,350 meters of berth.”
Hutchison Whampoa, which controls 12% of all container port capacity in the world and employs 200,000 people, has long been alleged to be either an arm of the Chinese military or beholden to the communist regime—which considers the United States an adversary. This situation has troubled prominent Americans, such as the now deceased Adm. Thomas H Moorer, a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman who pointed out some years ago that Hutchison Whampoa already controls the Atlantic and Pacific seaports of the Panama Canal—that century-old American-made commercial waterway connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific that has a military function and is arguably one of the most strategic chokepoints on the globe.
So, against the backdrop of China’s current massive military build-up, the communist nation’s presence in various Western Hemisphere ports should be watched very carefully. This buildup, as repeatedly emphasized by Gus Stelzer, a retired General Motors executive, author and trade analyst, is funded to a large extent by the huge profits China makes selling goods tariff-free in the United States.
Meanwhile, the United States continues to run gargantuan trade deficits with China. As a proposed remedy, Stelzer advocates levying tariffs against China and other nations whose merchandise floods America while American industries, undercut by the onslaught, are forced to downsize, close or go offshore in order to survive.
Rarely, if ever, are American goods allowed to be sold in these nations anywhere near the extent that their goods are sold in the United States, says Stelzer.
Notably, Hutchison Whampoa—a company whose affiliates delve into the cruise ship business, telecommunications, real estate, hotels, PARKnSHOP grocery stores, Fortress electronics and housewares, along with energy, infrastructure, etc.—has a number of other Western Hemisphere port operations.
Hutchison Whampoa has the Ensenada International Terminal (EIT), “strategically situated 110 kilometers south of the U.S.-Mexico border along the Pacific Ocean,” Hutchison Whampoa literature states. It adds that EIT has undergone extensive redevelopment involving construction, dredging and new equipment purchases.
Another port maintained by Hutchison Whampoa is the Terminal Internacional de Manzanillo (TIMSA), which started its operations in 1999 and is “aimed at developing the container market on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Located at the Mexican port of Manzanillo, TIMSA is ideally situated for Asian trade with Mexico City and Guadalajara, as well as nearby industrialized states,” according to Hutchison Whampoa’s web site.
Hutchison Whampoa’s Panama Ports Company (PPC) operates the ports of Cristobal and Balboa located at each end of the Panama Canal (large expansion projects are proceeding at both ports).
The shipping company—which has 15 mainland China operations—also runs a Western Hemisphere port in Buenos Aires, consisting of a state-of-the-art terminal with two ship berths, a container freight station and a logistics center; as well as in the Bahamas, where Hutchison Whampoa’s Freeport Container Port, a deepwater operation, provides “a transhipment center for the eastern seaboard of the Americas and the principal East/West line haul routes throughout the region,” according to company literature.
Hutchison Whampoa’s top executives include Li Tzar Kuoi, aged 41, who has been an executive director since 1995 and deputy chairman since 1999. Kuoi also sits on what is called the “Standing Committee of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of the People’s Republic of China.”
The top Hutchison Whampoa executive, Li Ka Shing, is considered the wealthiest Chinese individual in the world. Kuoi, named above, is Li Ka Shing’s eldest son.
According to the Internet encyclopedia, Wikipedia, “Li was invited by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to become a member of the board of directors of the China International Trust and Investment Corp. (CITIC) to support the economic reform initiatives that Deng was attempting to develop.
CITIC is China’s largest conglomerate and is 42% owned by the government of China. It serves as the chief investment arm of China’s central government and holds ministry status on the Chinese State Council. Li served only one year on CITIC’s board before resigning his directorship. For many years, he served as vice chairman of the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank (HSBC).”
Various reports over the last few years, including a NewsMax.com report of June 13, 2001, note that Hutchison Whampoa’s subsidiary, HIT, has “business ventures with the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) which is owned by the People’s Liberation Army.” HIT stands for Hutchison International Terminals.
COSCO, which failed in a notorious Clinton administration- backed attempt to lease the former U.S. naval base in Long Beach, Calif., has been criticized for shipping Chinese missiles, missile components, jet fighters and other weapons technologies to nations such as Libya, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, NewsMax reported in 2001.
American Free Press reporter Mark Anderson can be reached at [email protected] Watch future AFP issues for more on America’s welcome acceptance of biofuels and other energy alternatives, helping end our gluttonous addiction to foreign petroleum.
(Issue #3, January 15, 2007)