China looms large for manufacturers in the U.S., both as a major competitor that does not always play by the same rules and as a growing market that has added hundreds of millions of middle class of consumers in the last 15 years and is the third largest international purchaser of U.S. manufactured goods. Read More
China, India, Indonesia and the European Union were among the top targets in a new Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) report that identifies top trade barriers facing U.S. companies around the world—a report that could support greater action from the Trump administration to boost trade enforcement. In an increasingly competitive global economy, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) calls on the Trump administration to use this report to target market-distorting practices by other countries that harm manufacturers and workers in the United States—and on the Senate to confirm Ambassador Robert Lighthizer as USTR to ensure that the administration has the personnel in place to advance that agenda. Read More
Co-authored by Patrick Forrest, NAM Vice President of Litigation and Deputy General Counsel
Manufacturers in the United States are deeply disappointed by an international panel decision that ruled in Canada’s favor purely on a threshold issue, sidestepping core investment and intellectual property (IP) issues at the heart of the case. In so doing, the panel failed to provide relief from Canada’s actions that undermine innovation and IP protection to the detriment of U.S. manufacturing and jobs. Read More
Manufacturers and workers in the United States are competing to win in the global economy. Battling substantial and growing market-distorting practices by other countries that tilt the playing field in their favor is but one of many challenges. These types of practices harm manufacturers and workers here in the United States not only by creating protected foreign markets that spur unfair trade by our competitors but also by blocking access by U.S. exports to the 95 percent of consumers living outside U.S. borders.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has long been a leading voice calling on U.S. and foreign government officials to address unfair trade practices and barriers. In its October 2016 submission to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for its National Trade Estimate Report (NTE), the NAM urged the U.S. government and other stakeholders to address a wide variety of foreign trade barriers faced by manufacturers in the United States in nearly 50 countries and regions. Unsurprisingly, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Russia lead the way as challenging markets with high barriers for manufacturers in the United States. These practices come in a variety of forms, including import and export restrictions, weak intellectual property enforcement, investment caps, technical barriers to trade and a wide array of localization barriers that explicitly or implicitly discriminate directly against foreign manufacturers, products, intellectual property or data.
As recently noted by President Donald Trump, one illustrative example of foreign localization that harms not only manufacturers in the United States but also U.S. consumers is the use of foreign price controls. Over many years, many foreign governments have shrunk the market for U.S. exports of innovative health products by instituting strict price caps in their government-run health systems. Their targets have largely been innovative pharmaceutical, medical devices and other health products that exist thanks to American ingenuity, research and development and strong U.S. intellectual property protections. Localization measures such as price controls chill the innovative life cycle, harming the U.S. economy, jobs and the patients who are waiting for the next generation of cutting-edge cures. While successive U.S. administrations have recognized and sought to curb these unfair localization barriers, including through recognition in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, more concrete action is needed to not just identify but also to address and stop the proliferation of foreign price controls.
As the Trump administration charts its path for trade policy that seeks to grow manufacturing and innovation in the United States in part through eliminating market-distorting actions overseas, the NAM strongly encourages the U.S. government to address foreign price controls and other localization barriers as a priority, including through the release of its annual trade barriers report slated by March 31.
It is time for a new strategy on these issues that will create a more fair and level playing field globally to grow the competitiveness of manufacturing in the United States. Such a strategy must include a robust enforcement agenda and ensure that new and ongoing trade negotiations reward the value of innovation. At a time when the global economy is performing well below expectations, now is the time to tear down the barriers that are holding back manufacturing in the United States from growing opportunities around the world for the benefit of jobs and growth here at home.
Manufacturers in the United States know that innovation and intellectual property (IP) are crucial for their economic success and that their competitiveness depends on continual innovation: creation of new products, technologies and more efficient processes that meet customer needs. While the United States provides strong IP protections and enforcement, that is too often not the case in overseas markets where IP theft and infringement jeopardizes the innovation and competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States, costing jobs and economic growth here at home. Read More
As a new Congress kicks off, and as the new administration takes the reins with stated priorities of boosting manufacturing in the United States, now is the right time to assess the state of the U.S.–India economic relationship. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) joined 21 other trade associations in a letter today to congressional leadership urging them to work to support a robust, reciprocal U.S.–India economic relationship that creates commercial opportunities in both countries and meaningfully addresses outstanding issues impacting manufacturers in the United States. Read More
A highly interconnected global economy is a fact for manufacturers big and small throughout the United States. Advances in technology and transportation over recent decades have created substantial new opportunities for manufacturers in the United States to reach millions of foreign consumers. That interconnection has also brought increased competition from growing manufacturing sectors around the world, in some cases fueled by market-distorting and discriminatory trade practices that put our manufacturers, workers and communities at an unfair disadvantage.
When markets are open and rules of fairness and equal opportunity are enforced for all, manufacturers in the United States can and do succeed. Consider the following:
- More than half of the U.S. manufacturing workforce depends on exports for their jobs, and nearly half of all U.S.-manufactured goods exports are sold just to the 20 countries that have eliminated barriers through free trade agreements.
- Employees in the “most trade-intensive industries” earn an average compensation of nearly $94,000, or more than 56 percent more than those in manufacturing companies that were less engaged in trade.
With the world’s most productive manufacturing sector in the world, but a domestic market that represents only 10 percent of global consumption and growing global competition, manufacturers in the United States need more robust trade policies and agreements to grow. To be part of the solution, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has shared with the Trump transition team our “Competing to Win” agenda, which includes a blueprint for a winning trade policy.
The NAM is calling on the new administration to focus on three key elements to ensure an open and fair trading system:
- Strong enforcement of global trade rules to crack down on cheating.
- Negotiation of new bilateral and other trade agreements to expand market access, raise standards, ensure fairness and equal opportunity and eliminate foreign market-distorting practices.
- Adoption of customs, financing, export control and other policies to make manufacturers in the United States more globally competitive.
Manufacturers are committed to working domestically and internationally to tap growth beyond our borders and eliminate foreign trade abuses to continue to expand a highly productive and innovative U.S. manufacturing sector that can continue to sustain and increase good-paying American jobs.
This blog is part of the NAM’s “12 Days of Transition” series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.
Manufacturers welcome today’s U.S. victory on solar energy with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) rejection of India’s appeal and urge the Indian government to move quickly to dismantle its discriminatory domestic content requirements that have blocked access for U.S. solar cell modules. As each and every previous ruling in this case has shown, India’s domestic content requirements are a clear violation of core WTO rules, and today’s victory will give an important boost to manufacturing in the United States. This decision also demonstrates why the strong rules-based WTO system and trade agreements with binding and strong enforcement rules are critical to open markets and eliminate unfair barriers overseas. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) congratulates Ambassador Michael Froman and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for their successful efforts. Read More
A highly flawed report that employs the mantle of global health to take aim at innovation and manufacturing was released today by a U.N. panel, representing a real missed opportunity to focus the world on collaborative and effective solutions that could make a substantial difference for real people facing access barriers. Read More
Another article, another letter and another press call from those opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and particularly its investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions emerged today. What we’ve seen over the past two weeks is, in reality, just more of the smoke-and-mirrors approach that opponents have been using for years, rehashing the same tired, false and discredited critiques of ISDS. These critiques have been rejected again and again by:
- The Obama administration when it fully considered and rejected these same arguments in its 2009–2012 Model BIT review, which included a broad public comment process;
- The Senate last year when it strongly rejected Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) amendment to eliminate ISDS from Trade Promotion Authority;
- Both the House and Senate when they rejected such arguments and voted in favor of Trade Promotion Authority legislation last year with its explicit direction to negotiate ISDS in new trade agreements; and
- A broad range of well-grounded academics, think-tank experts and media outlets, including The Washington Post and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
But like a group of vaudeville magicians—and equally out of date—the anti-trade and anti-ISDS crowd is using a sleight of hand to distract from the clear facts: that ISDS is a respected mechanism, fully in line with our own Constitution and basic rules, that helps protect individuals, NGOs and businesses alike from discriminatory and unfair conduct.
For those who may be new to the debate, here is a mini-video course of why ISDS is valuable.