The Business Review of West Michigan interviews Peter Perez, the former CEO of the family-owned Carter Products Co. in Grand Rapids, who has joined the Department of Commerce as deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing in the International Trade Administration. His assignment is promoting domestic manufacturing through exports.
What are some of the obstacles in the way of companies that want to export their goods?
We business people, we like to operate where policies are clear and where things are certain. We need to emphasize that within our government, to try to give clear direction to manufacturing, and we need to increase our efforts to resolve trade barriers, which do exist in other parts of the world.
If we can have clear domestic policies and reduction in trade barriers, that certainly is going to be an obstacle we overcome.
There are export restrictions that were wisely put in place in the past that could be reviewed in order to increase our export opportunities. We also have an obstacle in the violation of intellectual property and products. In my own company, this was an area where we had to fight against Asian competition. We succeeded, but there’s a lot of evidence others have not been as successful.
And exchange rates — we need market-based exchange rates. That’s really the only way that we’ll have fair trade throughout the world.
Agreed! Indeed, the priorities cited by Perez are shared by the National Association of Manufacturers and detailed in the NAM’s “Blueprint to Double Exports in Five Years.” The NAM recently released the document with the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Coalition of Service Industries. Our news release is here.
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