Buying from Aliexpress?

Yes but at what cost? If nothing changes by 2025, I see, certainly in the UK, that most new car registrations will probably be Chinese!

Yes snd temporarily that is what France is doing for electric cars. Tariffs/surcharges/discrimination in subsidies/visa requirements for travellers seem quite naturally to all become tit for tat and it’s the consumer that ends up bring ripped off as you say.

Back in the day I was recommended banggood and gearbest as the 2 pretty reliable Chinese sites that can have genuine stuff and relatively trustworthy. I’d buy from either, after research and crosschecking think I did banggood a couple of times.

Younger French people have told me they use leboncoin but more and more aliexpress. I would aim to not use either.

I have had excellent service from Chinese vendors, or vendors who hadn’t looked Chinese but were, over and over again on Rakuten France (app or website). Ranging from fast shipment, slow (notified in fair way pre-purchase in the text) shipping, immediate refund of a product that failed to arrive, prompt cheerful replacement of products that arrived damaged, cheerful refund when requested with photos sent. No quibble.

Rakuten’s points system gave real value at promo times (,since, may have been stopped) and clearly there were rules and sanctions for vendors as mine were all careful not to step out of line. I boight mainly small tech stuff and other small things but quite a few repeats selecting same vendor. Used vendors with 4.6 up mostly occasionally 4.5, take your chances any lower unless willing to take a risk on new vendor with low history.

Lots of the good vendors are checkable cross sites too and banggood and gearbest were also good for price guiding - their good vendors let you work out the lowest fair price as a floor for newish tech. Also lots of new stuff like Xiaomi / Poco seems to release new to India or other places before us now - so good to watch for what’s coming so you will know if the latest Samsung likely has anything new except the label when it comes here.

Yes I agree, it’s now all too easy to simply bin something damaged/broken and replace it rather than repair it, when repairing many things is made so much more possible with e.g. youtube vids and also the availability of parts………….mainly out of China! And on the point of more ‘stuff’, yes folks now want more and more and the sad reality is that alot of that ‘stuff’ gets purchased only to end up in a cupboard, garage or loft somewhere………… or even worse, in a paid for storage container. Must say I’ve been guilty of this in a previous life, but now my mind set is totally different, as above all else, all the ‘stuff’ takes so much time to sort through and get rid of once you realise you don’t actually need it! A great example is all the kitchen gadgetry that has been developed over the years to not actually meet a need, but more to encourage a need. And many many examples of such ‘much needed stuff’ on Amazon/Aliexpress/Temu.

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Surely, the idea of import tariffs is to level an uneven playing field, such that it becomes profitable for goods to be produced domestically and create jobs in home based manufacturing? Most of the stuff we buy on Temu and aliexpress is of low quality and in my experience, a complaint is met with an automatic refund- without the need to return the goods, thus proving the the cost of manufacturing was so low, the item was effectively junk to start with.

Something can cost the producer very little to produce but still be worth a higher value to us as buyers. low cost does not always equal rubbish. Also the good Chinese vendors are clever at still keeping a floor price related to the market and don’t give it away even if it was cheap for them - if they’re going to be around they give some of that back in goodwill like easy refunds and fairer dealing.

This is fine in theory - but the lead times and investment required to set up a company, build a manufacturing plant, recruit workers, and get the product to market mean it’s not an instant fix.

Plus if the cost of making an item domestically is significantly higher compared to making it in China, then nobody’s going to buy it, even if tariffs did “level the playing field” as you suggest.

It’s been proved over and over again that protectionism does not benefit domestic manufacturers, or consumers. When one country raises trade barriers, so will the others in reciprocal fashion.

Not only that, but a “protected” domestic market does not automatically lead to lower prices or better products for consumers, as lacking outside competition domestic manufacturers can raise their prices to increase their profits without having to worry about becoming uncompetitive, nor are they driven to innovate to stay ahead.

The same conversation was being had half a century ago when Japan and Hong Kong were the “cheap overseas manufacturing locations” of choice. Plus ca change and all that.

And we all know how well bringing back trade barriers has gone for the UK post-Brexit - UK domestic suppliers cannot possibly meet the demand for food and other products so the UK is still importing from the EU but UK consumers are paying higher prices for goods.

The way forward is to reduce trade barriers across the board, and for each country to concentrate on what it’s good at, and can produce and sell profitably. For the UK that’s mainly services these days, plus some luxury and speciality goods (Scotch whisky being the classic example).

Unless the UK and Europe followed the Tory sweatshop game-plan and reduced wages and employee protections to almost nothing, there is no way to compete directly with Chinese manufacturing.

There are also internal constraints on China’s growth which may mean that it isn’t necessarily going to dominate world trade in the way that many fear:

(from an American perspective)

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Yes, true but I suggest that China’s goal isn’t just about economic dominance through trade but something far more sinister.

Perhaps not: from the article I linked to above:

While the breadth and magnitude of the challenges posed by China are large, they should not be
exaggerated or misunderstood.

China will not be a global military power able to match the United States for the foreseeable future.
America’s nuclear and ballistic missile forces, ability to project power, global system of alliances and
bases, and war fighting experience are advantages that are unlikely to be eroded. China’s military
poses a regional challenge but is not an instrument designed for an unprovoked attack on the United States.

China’s economy will surpass the United States in gross domestic product, but it will lag well behind
the United States in GDP (Gross domestic product) per capita for the foreseeable future. That will mean that demands for attention to domestic needs will continue to loom large for Chinese leaders. These domestic demands will provide some restraint on ambitious overseas spending (such as for BRI) that are unpopular in China.

Don’t forget the domestic political advantages to politicians on the Right of demonising an external enemy (whether China or Russia) - arguably, Western characterisation of Russia as still an adversary despite the end of the Cold War, and the expansion of NATO, played a role in feeding Vladimir Putin’s paranoia and making him opt for aggressive action in Ukraine. Adopting a similar adversarial attitude to China might have similar consequences where Taiwan is concerned.

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That’s true right now, but China is also making expansionist moves, not just to reclaim Taiwan, but in the South China sea. My expectation is that they’ve watched Russia’s invasion or Ukraine, seen how inconsistent and unreliable the supply of arms and support has been and is likely to be much less afraid of a united states acting as world-policeman now than 5 years ago. Yes, they have to be careful not to overtly attack, but in small increments I’m quite sure they will absorb as much as they can until they are stopped.

The west is very poor at planning ahead and managing their alliances in a consistent and trustworthy fashion, at least partly as a result of it’s ‘strength’ from democracy.

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It is true that Nato agreed to no further expansion towards Russia’s border countries but then went ahead and continued to do it anyway, so feeding Putin’s paranoia

Yes there is a paradox that putting political and military measures in place to counter a potential opponent may in fact convince that opponent that aggression is justified.

One of the contributing factors to the Japanese attack on the US and its invasion of South-East Asia in 1941 was the strangling effect of Western sanctions on the Japanese economy.

Of course the Japanese might have decided to attack anyway, but it illustrates how difficult the balancing act between deterrence and triggering the very thing we wish to avoid can be.

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I dont, the damn country that tells everyone how to run things but cannot do the same internally. Sickest nation on the planet. No poor persons health care. Etc etc. ( Stopped there for politeness)

Because its all greedy short term robbery.

Glad they did or the yanks would have joined Hitler.


I’m very curious to know on what historical evidence you base that assertion?

Many Americans were isolationist and did not want to get involved in the European war, but I don’t think there was any substantial number who actively supported the Nazis.

Roosevelt was well aware of the dangers that Hitler posed to world peace - he had been covertly supporting the UK even before Germany declared war on the US following Pearl Harbor - and the Americans agreed with the UK and other allies on a “Germany First” policy in prosecuting the Second World War, despite pressure from factions in the US Government and military who wanted to put the majority of resources into fighting Japan.