WSJ: Manufacturing Exports Drive Local Economies

By September 11, 2008Trade

From today’s page one Wall Street Journal, “Exports Prop Up Local Economies“:

Much of the world may be struggling with the economic downturn, but life has been getting better in Columbus, Ind., Kingsport, Tenn., and Waterloo, Iowa.

These out-of-the-way places have become trade hot spots as U.S. exports, fueled by the dollar’s fall, continue to provide a rare spark in an otherwise gloomy economy.

While many economists expect a recent snapback in the value of the dollar and a spreading global slowdown to soften that growth, exports have become a key to greater local prosperity more than at any time in decades.

Columbus, population 40,000, is an export powerhouse thanks largely to diesel-engine maker Cummins Inc., which has added 1,000 jobs there since 2003. Kingsport, population 44,000, is home to Eastman Chemical Co., which is spending $1.3 billion to upgrade its sprawling chemical plant there on the strength of its global sales of plastics and fibers. And Waterloo, population 68,000, owes its healthy export economy to Deere & Co., which has announced its second major investment this year of its tractor plant there.

The stories reaffirms with numerous examples from U.S. manufacturers — and NAM member companies — the themes we emphasize here at the National Association of Manufacturers: U.S. exports are a bright spot in the economy offsetting slowdowns in other sectors, and given their importance it is critically important that Congress enact the three pending Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Peru and South Korea. See our recent Labor Day report for more.

The article by the Journal’s manufacturing reporter, Timothy Aeppel (who consistently writes accurate, interesting stories), concludes with some observations from Drew Greenblatt, owner of Marlin Steel Wire Product in Baltimore, NAM board member, and tireless testifier to the ability of U.S. manufacturing to compete globally:

Marlin has sold baskets in Mexico and Canada for several years and more recently has found customers far beyond, in places like Denmark, Japan, Israel and New Zealand. “But my all-time favorite is Taiwan,” says Mr. Greenblatt. “Think about the concept: There’s a Chinese shipping clerk over there that opened a box and pulled out wire baskets that say ‘Made in U.S.A.'”


Leave a Reply