New dollar coins profits Korean owned Cedar Rapids company
The one-dollar presidential coins that make their debut on Presidents Day gleam with nationalistic pride. But to some advocates of U.S. manufacturers, the new coins are downright un-American.Outsourcing American currency. Well, we've already outsourced a war, why not just outsource everything including our government? Couldn't hurt.
That's because the metal is being supplied partly by PMX Industries of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a subsidiary of Poongsan Corp. of Seoul, South Korea. The U.S. Mint will pay millions of dollars to PMX and Olin Corp. of East Alton, Ill., to provide the metal strip used to make four different presidential coins annually for the next 10 years. And if past payments are an indication, it won't be chump change; the Mint has paid $756 million to PMX and $715 million to Olin for metal used in coins since 1999, the first year for which the Mint was able to produce such data.
"This is just one more example of how the U.S. government attaches a very low priority to ensuring that the interests of domestic U.S. companies are adequately safeguarded in global competition," said Alan Tonelson, a fellow at the U.S. Business & Industry Council. "Especially when it comes to South Korea, which is a proven subsidizer and which has not been devoted to free trade principles. It seems that U.S. government agencies ought to be obligated to look very carefully at those bids to make sure that the prices that are being quoted are in fact the result of free-market forces."
A South Korean government-owned bank arranged two $70 million loans to PMX in 2001 and 2003, according to Korean press reports. Tonelson said that such loans are basically subsidies, and ones that wouldn't be easily accessible to foreign-based subsidiaries of U.S. companies.
"Olin is not only competing against a South Korean company, it's competing against the South Korean government," he said.
An official from Olin declined to comment on the company's competition with PMX.