Report From Denver: Third Way and Trade

By August 28, 2008General

(Note: NAM’s Executive Vice President Jay Timmons is blogging from the National Democratic Convention in Denver this week.)

The capstone event the NAM team attended on Wednesday was a reception hosted by the Third Way Democrats. Third Way is a group of thoughtful policy professionals who believe partisan politics get in the way of creative solutions.

NAM is a proud supporter of Third Way. Although we won’t always totally see eye-to-eye on all issues, the organization is one of the few in Washington willing to look past campaign rhetoric in order to bring together non-traditional allies to devise policy proposals to help real people in the real world, and make America more competitive.

Senator Tom Carper (DE) was in attendance. NAM’s CEO, John Engler, worked closely with Senator Carper when the two were Governors. That productive relationship has extended into their new leadership roles as they have collaborated on common sense proposals to reform our litigious legal system in order to reduce the cost of doing business in the United States.

Senator Blanche Lincoln (AR), another attendee, is expected to be a major player in the next Congress when tax reform proposals are offered. Senator Lincoln has a history of reaching out to stakeholders, and the NAM expects to work closely with the Senator and her staff next year on tax policies that will enable U.S. manufacturers to better compete and succeed against our major trading partners.

Free trade, in particular, is an area where the Third Way can make an extraordinarily positive impact next year. The NAM has been actively working with the group to craft meaningful proposals to advance pending trade agreements, pursue new agreements that would open additional markets to U.S. products, reduce non-tariff barriers, and enforce our existing agreements.

Third Way is clearly in touch with members of their party: Fully 62 percent of Democrats say they benefit from free trade, according to a nationwide poll conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association this month. Data released today by the Commerce Department explains why this perception is a reality. Second quarter Gross Domestic Product figures show a stronger than expected 3.3 percent annual rate of increase in real GDP. Exports contributed 1.65 percentage points of that 3.3 percent growth. And “net exports” (trade balance – exports minus imports) contributed 3.1 percentage points of that 3.3 percent growth, because real imports (price-adjusted) fell.

Third Way Democrats understand free trade works. Hopefully their philosophy and the realities of the positive impact of free trade will prevail after the campaign rhetoric subsides.

Jay Timmons

Jay Timmons

Jay Timmons is president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest manufacturing association in the United States representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector.
Jay Timmons

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