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US retreats on Swedish glass deal: report

Paul O'Mahony · 26 Mar 2010, 12:11

Published: 26 Mar 2010 12:11 GMT+01:00

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"We haven't heard anything from the US State Department, so this comes as a surprise to us," Eva-Marie Hagström of Orrefors Kosta Boda told The Local.

"We have a contract wth the US State Deartment. We've already begun production and are ready to start delivering later this spring," she added.

But democratic senator Charles Schumer said US official Patrick F. Kennedy had revealed the official turnaround at a private meeting.

"They're going to rebid it so that American-made glass gets preference, and we have every confidence that Steuben is going to win it," Schumer told the New York Post.

Critics had previously fumed that Clinton had overlooked Steuben, a prestigious glass maker located in New York, a state for which the US Secretary of State was senator for most of the last decade.

Clinton's State Department handed the $5.4 million contract to a small Washington DC-based firm who in turn brought in Orrefors, one of Sweden's best-known brands.

The items are to be embellished with the seal of the United States and used for functions at 400 embassies and ambassadors' residences worldwide.

But the order was met with angry reactions from some quarters in the US who felt that the contract should have gone to an American firm.

Story continues below…

"This is about fighting for American jobs. The US government should not turn its back on American workers and send job opportunities abroad," Republican Pat Tiberi and Democrat Eric Massa wrote in a letter to Hillary Clinton, according to news agency TT.

Orrefors Kosta Boda, located in Sweden's Kingdom of Crystal in rural Småland in southern Sweden, explained that it had won the order in the face of stiff competition and that the US state department had warmed to the firm's environmental profile.

"We won the contract for our design but they were also interested in our lead-free products and environmentally-friendly approach to glass making," Eva-Marie Hagström told The Local earlier this month.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

12:39 March 26, 2010 by studentecon
Oh boy!!

See! this what i call "free market"....=D
12:43 March 26, 2010 by Twiceshy
Protectionist thinking rears its ugly head.
13:01 March 26, 2010 by G Kin

But my wonder is:

Would Sweden do different?
13:43 March 26, 2010 by americanska
Twice sky - speaking of protectionism. why don't you go count how many cars in sweden are NOT volvo or saab. and the next time the Swedish Goverment awards a contract to an american company.
14:19 March 26, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Schumer's a big gun of New York.He wants it all and he wants it his way :America First (and foremost)

If it's true that the deal has been done then All Sweden & our most excellent and enviromentally friendly Crystal artisans of Orrefors Kosta Boda should be reacting with astonishment and disappointment.

Protectionism? Hear the bard ( who supported Obama for the presidency) explain it all, the way he saw it in 1983:

14:22 March 26, 2010 by Celc
@G Kin - Yes because expressed protectionism and nationalism is dirty in Sweden. Though even if they didn't it doesn't matter, it would simply mean the Swedish government would be equally wrong.

@americanska - Unless you are suggesting that the government of Sweden buys all the cars in Sweden your sentence makes no sense. Even if your point was equatable (private parties buying stuff isn't the same as the government buying stuff) it doesn't make Twiceshys accusations any less valid.
14:26 March 26, 2010 by Nemesis
So now America is anti capitalist and anti free market.

Thats an interesting change in the US.
14:31 March 26, 2010 by G Kin
@ Cornelius Hamelberg

Your link just lead to google seach window.

You wanna check it if you wanted us the read something from it. Hopefully something meaningful.

Protectionism isn't good, but I think in the present economic climite one can easily understand why. Governments are trying to cut down unemployment numbers. So anyhting relating to job creation is bound to be sensitive.

I definitely wish sweden good. After all I live here at the moment. But I do not think sweden would have done any different. Indeed they are more protectionist even if it looks more like petriotism!
14:40 March 26, 2010 by zeulf
Is this the Good Old " Stand by my Man* with a Big Mac in my Hand" Hilly? Where are the Kneeling College Students? Standards? What Standards, this is Politics

* Aplologies to Tanya Tucker
14:54 March 26, 2010 by johnas
Saab and Volvo are not swedish companies. The reasons why the two brands are among the most common cars in sweden are based on its history, tradition and also because the cars are made to fit the swedish market. Of course another reason is that most of the cars are made and built in sweden.

Just recently the swedish government bought Boieng airplanes, maybe not as important as the glass mentioned in this article (?), but i think the value of the tires included in the boeing deal is enough to exceed the value included in the glass deal.

Still, the biggest issue and difference is that one of these countries are claiming to be the world capital of free-trading.. and its not Sweden.
15:00 March 26, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg

The Patriotic Foreign Secretary likes Marimekko dresses. That's personal. She's now buckled to some pressure about national affairs.

The bottom line is: "We haven't heard anything from the US State Department, so this comes as a surprise to us,"

So what's going to happen next? Sorry, or sorry+compensation?

15:14 March 26, 2010 by livinginsweden
With friends like this who needs enemy?

Send the king and his family to go to US on the way back from Brazil and smooth talk the king of US to buy the glass.....

ha ha.....
15:24 March 26, 2010 by scramasax
This doesn't surprise me. It would be laughable if this inept crew running Washington wasn't so dangerous and ruining our country.
15:28 March 26, 2010 by calebian22
Swedish glass should not represent the US in every embassy worldwide. If the US wants have Orrefors in the Stockholm embassy, or Waterford Crystal in Dublin, to support local business and relations, fair enough. With the scope of the distribution and the representative value this contract should never have left American shores.
16:10 March 26, 2010 by Audrian
Do not rush to make judgments. There has never been free trade, past or present. In history it was Britain which was clamoring for free trade when it suited it and protective when it did not. Today it is the US. The US supports free trade in high tech-based goods, including arms, but it is against labor intensive goods such as agricultural and low tech manufactures. Africa is efficient in the production of agricultural produces, but its ability to export to both Europe and US is curtailed by protective tariff. The farm lobbies in both economies are powerful. Both EU and US export highly subsidized agricultural produces to Africa as a condition to receiving aid and arms. This has destroyed Africa's agriculture. Sweden which is one of the most unsuited countries for beetroot farming (sugar) is doing it under protection. For over 30 years having demanding for free trade in agricultural goods (instead of foreign aid) so that they could emerge out of poverty with their own inertia (without assistance). It did not work. Africa is loosing income to the tune of 20 times more than it receives in foreign aid every year. Plus the distortion effect of subsidy on Africa's economy cannot be under estimated.

In the Caribbean, under the guise of President Clinton, the US destroyed Haiti's rice production. He demanded that Haiti accept American subsidized rice as a condition for US supporting loan from IMF. He was asked this question about three days ago and gave "bla, bla, bla" answer (BBC report).

In above example, the glass manufacturers might have contributed to Mrs. Clinton's campaign funds. This is time for her and the Democratic Party to pay their debt.

If Sweden would take the case to WTO, it might help. Do you think it has the nerve!
16:26 March 26, 2010 by StockholmSam
This has nothing to do with free-market economics because Sweden does not hold a comparative advantage in glassmaking with respect to America. There are plenty of American firms who can create glassware of equal quality at the same price as Orrefors, so it is not a matter of free-market economics.

Protectionism is a rather weak argument, too. A government has the responsibility to protect its citizens wherever possible, including saving their jobs as long as it does not interfere with free trade based on comparative advantage, which this decision does not do. Reducing trade barriers and fostering free trade allows citizens greater variety of higher-quality/lower-priced goods. But that is not the case here since US firms are not wasting resources in the production of a substitute product. However, providing jobs to American glassmakers bolsters the American economy and puts money in American pockets. Since the people get more money, they can buy Swedish Saabs/Volvos/Electrolux cleaners/Ikea furniture, etc, so the knock-on effect could encourage Swedish exports to America. But the reality is that it will only do so if free-trade makes Swedish goods competitive in the American market based on comparative advantage. Orrefors does not have that and so free-trade is not an issue, and protecting American jobs in this instance is the obligation of the US govt because it does not run counter to free trade.
16:57 March 26, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
This should have been a non-story, but Hillary, like her husband is a mindless twit and moves thier lips without thinking to even propogate this to begin with.

Sweden or any other country wouldn't have acted any different. I'm sure we'll have to beat the average european off a Clinton's leg for the foreseeable future, so nothing will change much.
17:39 March 26, 2010 by nickel
Wait don't miss the major point. Hillary Clinton (the smartest woman in the world) in the middle of a recession so deep in the US that over 17 % of the workforce is out of work, and few areas are hit harder than the old rust belt areas of Upstate New York where Corning Glass/Steuben Glass is based, didn't think to let Steuben Glass bid on the contract. Now there is the real story.

This is the woman who came in second (to the smartest man in the world) to be President of the United States. Now her major accomplishments are almost restarting the Falklands War again twenty nine years later, and really ticking off our only allie in the Middle East, Israel.

And you wonder why we mere citizens in the US are terrified for our future?
18:04 March 26, 2010 by americanska
FYI - Free Market Economy does not equate to "Free" Trade

besides the fact that whenever a goverment buys somethign it's for political reason.

This is US Taxpayers money, it's not an important item, there is no advantage to use the Swedish crystal so of course they shouldn't spend the money on that.

Let's see how the Swedes react with the Stockholm PD buying Ford Intercepter inteasd of the Volvo.
18:15 March 26, 2010 by Audrian
Re Stockholm Sam

Governments purchase is done through bidding to avoids corruption. (It is a law.) The lowest bidder wins. High cost companies lose because they can not offer price that is below the cost of production. The claim in this report is Sweden won the competition. Back traking is allowed if Swedish government has subsidized the company and make it the cheapest bidder. Both EU and US have accepted this principle.
18:22 March 26, 2010 by Atlas
So, its "Boeing" vs "Northrop Grumman and EADS" style all over again. And they call it The Land of the Free...Wonder what Free really means.
18:28 March 26, 2010 by krrodman
I am not surprised that the State Department is under enormous pressure to reconsider their purchase.

I am surprised that the idealistic dumbasses in the State Department didn't see it coming. Are they really shocked that the US taxpayer would prefer to buy American? Did they really think that the average American would prefer to buy lead-free Swedish glass instead of leaded American glass?

Are they really that stupid??!!
18:47 March 26, 2010 by StockholmSam

"FYI - Free Market Economy does not equate to "Free" Trade"

True, I should have worded it "free trade" not "free market" in my first paragraph. Been a long day. :-)


My understanding of this issue (which is very limited) is that the Swedish firm was chosen because its environmentally-friendly manufacturing and the design of the actual product, not because of a price advantage. What confuses me is that the contract was not awarded to Kosta Boda by the US government, it was awarded to a US firm who bought from Kosta Boda. Therefore, it wasn't Sweden who won the contract with a low-ball offer. It was an American outfit in DC. But then it says that the State Department was attracted to Kosta Boda's processes. Something is fishy here. Either the State Department knew it was a foreign product and wanted to have a US-based intermediary to possibly eliminate unwanted criticism, or the DC-based firm offered a fair price plus the environmentally friendly manufacturing process without indicating it was from a Swedish firm. Either way, what a mess.
20:28 March 26, 2010 by cwb
It is very simple, Hillary needs to stand by her word and tell the American people the reasons for her decision.....otherwise it's kind of like giving into your kid that is a brat ...the one who thinks he/she deserves the world on a platter. Considering the budget deficits in the USA....perhaps they should be buying the glasses from IKEA!
20:29 March 26, 2010 by calebian22

This was actually a "no bid" contract. The rules that you are referring too don't apply in this case.
23:22 March 26, 2010 by GLO
Good for US tax payers, bad for Sweden... The would be President shows poor decission making ..... now poeple on both sides hate her... See,,,Leadership is important even when buying dishes... All Leaders should learn a simple lesson !!!! Dont waste other peoples money...
23:24 March 26, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
As the Kosta Boda spokeswoman said, "We have a contract wth the US State Deartment. We've already begun production and are ready to start delivering later this spring," They are serious with their contractual obligations. By this time they are probably ready to deliver right now - should the sun start shining tomorrow.

The USA probably also has a rock solid relation with Sweden, and so consistency is all we demand. Hillary in deed needs to stand by her original word and stop all the flip flopping:

01:47 March 27, 2010 by Bruce in Vancouver
Well, there ya go. Chucky "the jew" Shumer pulls off an amazing act of Sleazery, just to help out one of his jew friends. How disgusting.
04:30 March 27, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
I knew it wouldn't take long to work in a anti-semetic comment.
04:42 March 27, 2010 by Bruce in Vancouver
The truth can't be anti-semitic. It was a sleazy thing to do and he is a jew.

Truth is hate...to those that hate the truth.
13:54 March 27, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Voltaire's hatred of Jews was probably greater than his hatred for torture. He wrote:" What is very odd is that there never is any mention of torture in the Jewish books. It is a pity that so gentle, so honest, so compassionate a nation did not know this means of finding out the truth."

A little truth shouldn't hurt Bruce and I for one do not accuse you of rank anti-Semitism or the kinds of hatred of which we should all be careful: The Talmud says that "No one can see…the merit of one whom he hates".

Nor do I refer to our fellow human being Hillary Clinton as "the Christian" or oil from Saudi Arabia as "Muslim oil" (when there's so much of the same oil in Texas)

About Charles Schumer (in my view a great American) all I can say here in his defence is that Charity, they say begins at home - and that a friend in need is a friend indeed.

Assuming that what you say is the non-sleazy but beautiful truth, Charles Schumer loves New York more than Vancouver, loves his neighbour as he loves himself and puts his America first, just as Anders Borg I'm sure, also says Sweden First.

Please tell us what's wrong with that kind of thinking or feeling?

Which of your commandments has he thus broken?

Chapter 34 ( four pages) of Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's "A code of Jewish ethics Vol. 1" is devoted to the theme of Hatred and is entitled "The Most Destructive Emotion."

21:34 March 27, 2010 by Bruce in Vancouver
The Talmud? Yes, I know all about the Talmud.

Let's just have us a little peeky-poo at some of the statements made in there shall we?

Jews May Rob and Kill Non-Jews

Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a gentile ("Cuthean"), there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep.

Baba Kamma 37b. The gentiles are outside the protection of the law and God has "exposed their money to Israel."

Jews May Lie to Non-Jews

Baba Kamma 113a. Jews may use lies ("subterfuges") to circumvent a Gentile.

Non-Jewish Children are Sub-Human

Yebamoth 98a. All gentile children are animals.

Abodah Zarah 36b. Gentile girls are in a state of niddah (filth) from birth.

Abodah Zarah 22a-22b . Gentiles prefer sex with cows.

Such lovely sentiments aren't they?"
22:40 March 27, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
You sound like another case for ADL

First of all you could show some respect and learn how to spell Jew with a capital letter.

"That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation / commentary; go and learn." (Hillel the Elder) Talmud - Shabbat 31a, the "Great Principle"


What are we quarrelling about? From where does all this hatred and incivility from you come into this discussion?

You said certain unsavoury things about Senator Charles Schumer who, along with many other Americans was merely lamenting that in this day and age of mass unemployment in America, with so many hundreds of businesses going bust by the day, Steuben, a prestigious glass maker located in New York, Hillary Clinton's own state, had been overlooked in the awarding of the contract and had therefore lobbied for a re-bid which he says he's confident, Steuben is going to win.

Who knows, Steuben is a perhaps more cost-effective purchase that reflects the best of American glass-making and perhaps from that point of view, ( American pride) is even more suitable for decorating American embassies wherever they may be.

Why should that generate such anti-Semitic venom from you to the extent that you actually say: "Chucky "the jew" Shumer pulls off an amazing act of Sleazery, just to help out one of his jew friends. How disgusting." This is not the spirit of discussing in this forum and there's nothing "disgusting" about what he said or did.

So, you know all about the Talmud?

Good. That's impressive. Some of us don't. I too know all about Ezra Pound, but not Ezra Pound, as I ought to.

But let's not just misquote TALMUD and the spirit of TALMUD and take everything out of context from some anti-Semitic website where various quotes have been jumbled together into a complete state of incomprehension, to utterly mislead the unwary.

The Talmud calls for serious study.

The Talmud is deeper than all that which you claim to know about (it). You need some rabbinical authority to help you translate and understand what you read. Just taking a peek-a-boo in the World Wide Web won't help you…
00:22 March 28, 2010 by Bruce in Vancouver
Being only about 2% of the US population, why are the number of jews in the US government so out of proportion? Why are 75% of the professors at Harvard jews?

Why is all the media owned and controlled by jews? I could go on all day.

The ADL? Yes I'm familiar with that fat pig Foxman. We have the Canadian version of the ADL here, where it's just known as B'nai Brith, but it's the same organization and we all know it.

Have you seen the new film about the ADL, that was made by an Israeli jew?

It's called "Defamation" and it totally exposes the ADL for what it really is.

You can view it online for free. Go have a look. In it, you will see how the Israeli government is teaching all the teenagers that go over to visit Auschwitz, that Europe is unsafe for them, because of all the neo-nazis lurking in the shadows.

hahaha Foxman's just having a schit about this.. I just love it!
14:31 March 28, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Bruce in Vancouver:


best regards,

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