SAN FRANCISCO – Warring Democrats and Republicans in the current U.S. elections need to stop bashing China and enact more free trade legislation, said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association in an annual address laying out the CEA's policy agenda.
China bashing is the only unifying theme for the otherwise polarized parties in the current U.S. elections, said Shapiro. Rather than beat up on one of the world's largest markets, politicians should look for ways to embrace more trade with China and all international markets, he said.
Specifically, Shapiro called for Congress to enact a three-year old fair trade pact with South Korea. Korea's ambassador to the U.S. spoke at a CEA meeting here lobbying for the legislation.
Not all is rosy in China, however. The CEA is concerned about recent moves in China to require products use proprietary China standards, Shapiro said.
In another part of his talk, Shapiro said the CEA opposes a recent deal with broadcasters that might require all smartphones to build in an FM radio receiver. He said broadcasters will also lobby that all handsets support its emerging mobile video technology.
Shapiro used his speech to tout the CEA's new innovation agenda. The CEA president is working on a book about the need for the U.S. to reclaim leadership in technology.
Overall, the consumer electronics industry is doing alright in a sluggish recovery. CEA expects wholesale U.S. sales of consumer electronics to hit $175 billion in 2010, up three percent from a year ago. Sales will edge up four percent to $182 billion in 2011, CEA projects.
Shapiro spoke at the CEA's annual Industry Forum which is hosting meetings of its standards working groups for the first time. The CEA is working on 19 new standards in areas including 3-D TV and wireless charging.
Next month the group will open its doors to individual members for the first time, reaching out to enthusiast users to expand its budget and influence. "We want to engage passionate people who can get involved in our public policy and action issues," he said.