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Manufacturing Leaders Deliver Recommendations to Obama Administration

Today, manufacturing thought-leaders, including many NAM-member company CEOs, delivered the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 report to the Obama Administration. The report includes recommendations that recognize the importance of advanced technology to manufacturing products and processes as well as the necessity of a skilled workforce to sustain the manufacturing comeback. (continue reading…)

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Increased LNG Exports Benefit Manufacturers and the United States

Increasing LNG exports will benefit manufacturers, their workers and the entire American economy. Arguments by opponents to free trade like Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) that energy exports would do otherwise have been disproven in studies by every credible economist in the country. Again and again, experts find that granting licenses to export LNG would result in a net economic gain, including the official study done by the Department of Energy.

Just last week, NERA Economic Consulting, the firm that performed the analysis for the Department of Energy, updated its original study with the most current data available. It found that “LNG exports provide net economic benefits in all the scenarios investigated, and the greater the level of exports, the greater the benefits.” NERA concluded, “There is no support for the concern that LNG exports, even in the unlimited export case, will obstruct a chemicals or manufacturing renaissance in the United States.”

We are, indeed, in the midst of a manufacturing comeback, fueled by our abundant energy resources. Exporting LNG is a critical part of this comeback, with each $10 billion export facility creating manufacturing jobs across the supply chain during construction and operation. In addition, experts have found not only will we have enough natural gas at stable prices to fuel domestic manufacturing while also supporting LNG exports, but we will also still come out on top.

Furthermore, Sen. Markey’s proposal to restrict U.S. exports is contrary to the international rules that the United States helped establish some 40 years ago. Export restrictions, like those on LNG, are prohibited by World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, and according to a recent report by former WTO Appellate Body Chairman James Bacchus, these delays and restrictions may be running afoul of our treaty obligations.

A New York Times editorial recently made a strong point about the importance of energy in fostering the United States’ national security. We are deeply concerned about recent events overseas as manufacturers have employees across the globe, including in Eastern Europe. We are working closely with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to safeguard manufacturing employees and manufacturers’ investments around the world.

Getting our energy policy right is not just a domestic imperative, but it also has important national security implications. Like the New York Times and many policymakers on Capitol Hill, the NAM believes that it is in our national interest—and in the interest of our allies—that the United States immediately accelerates the review process of pending LNG export terminal applications. With an expedited review, the Administration would send a strong signal to the Russian Federation, our NATO allies, our trading partners and the rest of the world that energy exports matter and are a critical tool of American foreign policy.

Aric Newhouse is Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations for the National Association of Manufacturers.

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Competitive Tax Code Essential to Growth

Manufacturers know firsthand the frustrations in dealing with the United States’ antiquated, flawed, and ultimately uncompetitive tax system. While it’s good news that President Obama is focusing on tax issues, solutions that pick winners and losers and increases the tax burden on businesses don’t benefit manufacturers. Tax reform must account for the nearly 70 percent of manufacturers pay taxes at the individual rate. Failing to include these important players in our job creation engine undermines the very point of tax reform – increased growth and competitiveness.

Within the President’s proposal, there are strong building blocks toward the growth American’s have been seeking since the recession. Investments in infrastructure, education, and innovation are fundamental to improving competitiveness and delivering the next generation workforce that will lead the global economy. If we don’t provide for those investments we will find our nation falling behind our global competitors.

In a letter to Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, manufacturers laid out our top priorities for tax reform. These include a lower corporate tax rate, which the President rightly acknowledges is holding U.S. competitiveness back, a lower rate for small manufacturers (critical to job creation and economic growth), a globally competitive international tax system and provisions that incentivizes R&D and investment.

These priorities are the fundamentals of successful tax reform centered around economic growth and competitiveness. We look forward to working with the Administration to achieve a positive tax climate that fosters global competitiveness for all manufacturers in the U.S.

Aric Newhouse is the Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Relations for the National Association of Manufacturers

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We Need the Keystone XL Pipeline Today

Today, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that the Trans Mountain pipeline project in Canada will begin its expansion west, creating thousands of jobs during its construction and operation. Manufacturers continue to scratch our heads and wonder why the U.S. can’t get its act together and approve the Keystone XL pipeline — which would not only create thousands of jobs but would give us access to affordable energy from a neighboring ally.

With Washington putting politics before sound policy on Keystone XL, it has left Canadian officials looking to other markets for crude. According to the WSJ

Canadian oil executives have sought to open new markets for their crude, especially after the White House rejected the Keystone XL project. The pipeline became ensnared in a political battle in Washington, with environmental groups and many Democrats opposing the pipeline. Republicans embraced it as a way to bolster energy security and create jobs.

Manufacturers need affordable, reliable energy to compete in the global marketplace, and by continuing to miss out on opportunities to have access to energy sources from allies, we only jeopardize our nation’s national security. In manufacturers’ eyes, with the development of the oil sands in Canada, our nation is missing the opportunity of a lifetime.

Aric Newhouse is senior vice president of policy and government relations, National Association of Manufacturers.

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President Obama Announces Plan to Reorganize Trade Agencies

Today we heard from President Obama about his plan to reorganize several federal agencies – many of which are critical to manufacturers and their ability to create and retain jobs.

Changes would include combining the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency into a single department in an effort to improve government efficiency and to help promote business. The key question in reviewing this proposal is will it help manufacturers compete, export, invest and create jobs?

Any changes that are considered must focus on improving intellectual property protection, opening markets for exports, improving market access, and more. Additionally, while manufacturers have done well in leaning their processes to improve their competitiveness and would vigorously support the federal government doing the same in this difficult debt and deficit environment, the agencies affected must continue to have the necessary resources to meet their missions.

If the streamlining and efficiency undertaken in this proposed combination of agencies will mean that manufacturers will have less intellectual property protection, for example, it would be a devastating mistake. If, on the other hand, this leaning process will mean doing more with less, it would be a great step forward.

As policymakers respond to the President’s proposals today, we are hopeful that the discussion centers on the key question for manufacturers – will they be better able to compete, export, invest and create jobs as a result? With a 20 percent cost disadvantage already, manufacturers will deeply care about the impact these proposals will have on their ability to compete.

Aric Newhouse is senior vice president for policy and government relations, National Association of Manufacturers.

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Manufacturing Job Growth Remains Sluggish

In February, job growth in the manufacturing industry showed promise by adding 33,000 jobs, but also revealed areas where uncertainty has a dampening effect on job creation. Manufacturers still have a long, long way to go in the economic recovery.    

For the second straight month the vast majority of manufacturing jobs created in February were in the durable goods sector.

Manufacturers are concerned by a number of factors including higher energy prices, misguided federal regulations, and policies that do not support global competitiveness. Policymakers need to join with manufacturers to create an environment that encourages innovation and job creation.

Aric Newhouse is the NAM Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Relations.

Change in Manufacturing Employment

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Employment Report Mixed for Manufacturers

While the January employment report shows that manufacturing added just 49,000 jobs last month, we remain concerned with the slow rate of job growth.  Manufacturers were hit very hard by the recession and lost over 2 million jobs over the past few years. In order to create new jobs we need a strong growth agenda from Washington to lower burdens on businesses of all sizing so they can gain confidence in the recovery and begin hiring again. 

The average duration of unemployment is now the longest ever recorded at 36.9 weeks and many unemployed workers have simply stopped looking for new jobs. This is not positive news for manufacturers or the economic recovery.

Many manufacturers are still very concerned about the state of the recovery and the uncertainty caused by harmful regulations and policies coming from Washington. Today’s report demonstrates that manufacturers still have a very long way to go return to the peak pre-recession levels. Manufacturers need certainty and pro-growth policies that will allow them to grow and better compete in the global market and create good high-paying jobs.

Aric Newhouse is the NAM Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Relations.

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