The Washington Post last Monday ran an editorial “Terms of Trade” continuing the paper’s welcome pro-trade editorial policy but painting a too dark picture of U.S. manufacturing’s productivity, employment and its overall role in the U.S. economy.
Today, the National Association of Manufacturers’ senior vice president for policy and government relations, Aric Newhouse, responded in a letter to the editor:
The Jan. 5 editorial about the impact of trade on U.S. manufacturing ignored a key fact: In 2007, the last year for which complete data are available, the production of U.S. manufacturers set an all-time high. While manufacturers continue to struggle with challenges including high energy costs, a burdensome corporate tax rate, the theft of intellectual property and crushing regulatory compliance costs, the hard work of their employees and innovative products were enough to overcome these burdens and accomplish this achievement.
Another fact also seemed to be overlooked. In 2008, the United States enjoyed a trade surplus in manufactured goods with the nations with which we have free-trade agreements. These pacts work because they open markets to allow our goods to compete on a level playing field.
Manufacturers will work with the Obama administration and Congress to implement legislative and regulatory solutions that will stimulate the economy and help the manufacturing worker compete successfully.
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