An employee works on a rocket engine at the SpaceX factory in Hawthorne. Courtesy SpaceX
An employee works on a rocket engine at the SpaceX factory in Hawthorne. Courtesy SpaceX

By Leonard Novarro and Rosalynn Carmen

From the telephone to the computer, planes to rockets, pop music to pop culture, the American brand has been respected and emulated throughout the world.

The forebearers of most Asian Americans came here to better their lives in a climate that fosters creativity, freedom and innovation. In addition to working hard and smart, that belief is at the heart of doing business and made many Asian Americans successful entrepreneurs and small business owners. This path to success was the impetus for middle class America.

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However, in the last generation, the middle class that was the pride of America dwindled away while the middle classes in China and other countries blossomed and thrived through a misguided belief that the cost of labor overseas ultimately benefits the consumer here. So, thousands of factories closed while millions of jobs flowed overseas. With a new president, we face a new direction and with it a challenge, not only to keep jobs here and to shift the balance of trade back in our favor, but to create a climate of innovation that makes America the best investment opportunity in the world. While our new president has appointed people to balance our trade overseas, there is much to do at home.

Times are changing. Labor overseas is becoming more costly. By the time you add other factors such as time lost, transportation, setup and legal costs, differences are not as far apart as they used to be. In fact, money is flowing out of China, Vietnam and India, seeking opportunities elsewhere, including the United States, and we need to capitalize on that.

Two years ago, when the Asian Heritage Society held the conference “Make It In America” to promote San Diego as an investment opportunity, it garnered little support from local business organizations that were more concerned with shifting enterprise overseas. But the Asian Heritage Society believed then as it does now that true entrepreneurial spirit must be given the space to grow and prosper with support from business as well as government and the injection of fresh ideas.

Our mission remains to promote this belief through conferences, articles and all forms of gathering along with individuals and organizations who hold a similar commitment to make “Make It In America” a beacon for everyone. It’s time to stop regarding what many thought was inevitable — the economic decline of the United States. The new president recognizes that this country’s strength depends on the creation of jobs and industries that can prosper. Manufacturing is one of those tools that will reinvent this economy, as will innovation and the belief that we can once again be a nation where “made in America” is a badge of pride.

Leonard Novarro and Rosalynn Carmen are the founders of the Asian Heritage Society and Asia Media Inc.