Boeing: U.S. Needs Aggressive, Competitive Trade Policy

Jim McNerney, president, chairman and CEO of Boeing, gave an important big-picture speech on the U.S. economy and manufacturing Thursday at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, remarks entitled, “Renewing and Competitiveness and Innovation in a Changing Global Economy.”

Boeing’s top executive laid out three areas of concern to aerospace and other industries, which he identified as “thorny issues”:

  • First: economic trends that hinder innovation — including large U.S. deficits, regulatory burdens and tax policies;
  • Second: trade policy — the rise of aggressive (and sometimes government-subsidized) competitors abroad amidst a growing sentiment toward protectionism (a tough mix!) and;
  • Third: a shrinking U.S. industrial base fed by an even-faster shrinking pool of workers who are skilled in the problem-solving fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
  • Indeed, that’s as good of a quick summary as you’ll find of the huge challenges facing the U.S. manufacturing economy exacerbated by misdirected, wrong-headed, bad government policies. (If you need a fourth bullet point, supply-restricting energy policies would fit.)

    Below we note Colombia’s critique of U.S. trade policy, but of course U.S. trade policy should be driven first by U.S. self-interest. So let’s look at four news releases from Boeing, all from yesterday:

    Why would the U.S. government surrender market share through inaction on trade when we have great, supercompetitive companies like Boeing?

    McNerney says the United States must become more engaged on trade and trade agreements:

    Based on Boeing’s experience and those of other exporters from large to small (and there are, literally, thousands upon thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses who have discovered the benefits of exporting), we’ll be better off in the long run if we are able to solidify an aggressive and competitive trade policy.

    Boeing’s chairman has laid out a clear, strong argument for federal policies that lift the burdens on U.S. manufacturers and improve the nation’s competitive position in the global economy. Read the whole thing.

    News coverage…

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