The US Government has come under fire for buying made in China condoms for its US Agency for International Development program. At a time when the federal government is spending billions of stimulus dollars to prevent layoffs, the switchover from US made condoms to Chinese ones is expected to cost 300 American jobs.
"Of course, we considered how many U.S. jobs would be affected by this move. The reasons for the change includes lower prices (2 cents versus more than 5 cents for U.S.-made condoms) and the fact that Congress dropped "buy American language" in a recent appropriations bill," Kansascity.com quoted a USAID official, as saying.
So far, the USAID has distributed an estimated ten billion US-made AIDS-preventing condoms in poor countries around the world, but the switch comes despite implied assurances that the agency would continue to buy American.
"We pay taxes down here, too, and with all this stimulus money going to save jobs, it seems to me like they (the U.S. government) should share this contract so they can save jobs here in America," Fannie Thomas, a condom maker for Alatech said.
The sole US supplier Alatech was blamed for having delivery problems under the USAID program. And, the plant is a likely to be shutdown as result of the contracting switch.
The US Government is close to accepting condoms from South Korea based Unidus Corp. and China's Qingdao Double Butterfly Group.
Alatech formally protested the federal contract going to its foreign competitors, who have health and quality allegations against them too.
Even Chinese condom makers admit that some Chinese buyers have complained their condoms were "too thick, low quality and don't feel comfortable." And, free Chinese-made condoms passed out by AIDS groups in Washington, D.C., were the subject of numerous complaints about unreadable expiration dates.
But on March 9, the Government Accountability Office rejected the complaint, noting that it lacked jurisdiction in the case. However, Alatech says their fight for condom supremacy is far from over.