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Linda Dempsey

ITC Report Barely Scratches the Surface of TPP’s Impact

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

However you analyze yesterday’s report released by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the fact remains: the global economy requires American leadership and know-how to make it easier to create jobs at home and open up markets abroad. Whether it’s electronics manufacturer Texas Instruments, with multiple facilities employing thousands all over the U.S. and selling its innovative technologies worldwide, or it’s Wisconsin-based Darley with 127 employees, selling fire trucks 100+ to countries including China, Australia, Peru, New Zealand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, Nigeria and Brazil– we need free trade agreements like TPP so that manufacturers of all sizes can continue to compete and win.

Manufacturers need their products sold to more markets, so we can grow more jobs in America. They need their inventions and innovations protected.  TPP will protect and sell American-made goods—and that’s why manufacturers support swift approval of this critical trade agreement. Read More

#TruthOnTheTrail: Trade Realities That Campaigns Need to Consider

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments


Trade continues to be a key topic in the campaigns of both major parties. Unfortunately, the most oft-repeated claims are flat-out wrong and portend a dangerous path of retreat from the strong trade approach that has long been a powerful positive force for American workers, consumers and families. With World Trade Week officially under way, let’s look again at how trade drives the U.S. economy, raises standards of living for American families and grows manufacturing in the United States by dispelling some of the top trade myths.

  1. Free Trade Agreements. If candidates want to take aim at free trade agreements (FTAs), why not go after the hundreds of trade agreements being negotiated without the United States that exclude and disadvantage manufacturers in the United States? U.S. exporters face higher tariffs and barriers than most of the world’s exporters in other countries (ranking 130 out of 132) because the United States has too few, not too many, trade agreements. FTAs are huge market boosters for manufacturing in the United States because they promote fair trade by leveling the playing field. That’s why moving forward on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is so important to manufacturers in the United States.
  1. NAFTA. The criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an enduring but deeply flawed myth. The United States implemented NAFTA in 1994 and then experienced four years of economic growth and the creation of more than 800,000 manufacturing jobs. The recession in the late 1990s had a negative effect on the U.S. economy and jobs, but if anything, NAFTA helped the United States endure that downturn more successfully and has been critical to sustaining and growing the U.S. manufacturing sector, which then faced even stronger challenges from Asian emerging economies.
  1. China. It is easy for candidates to go after China as a major villain in the trade stories they like to tell. China is not easy, but it is not a one-sided picture. Yes, China has grown its manufacturing industry heavily over the past 20 years and is now the largest foreign supplier of manufactured goods to the United States. To reach this level, China engaged in a number of unfair trade practices, government subsidization and discriminatory policies. No debate there. At the same time, China also became the third-largest market for U.S.-manufactured goods, from the seventh-largest purchaser in 2002, the year after China joined the World Trade Organization, with U.S. exports growing more than 350 percent to $89 billion. There’s a long way to go in creating a fairer and more reciprocal U.S.China commercial relationship, but it’s a lot more complicated than the campaign promise of putting on new border taxes on Chinese imports, which we all know would be contrary to U.S. international commitments and would likely result in even stronger retaliation against U.S. exports to China. And just a reminder, the TPP does NOT include China.
  1. Trade Deficits. When we buy more imports than sell exports, that’s considered a trade deficit, which is used by candidates as a negative report card on U.S. trade. However, our economy is much more complicated than simple subtraction. Oftentimes, when the U.S. trade deficit is rising, the U.S. unemployment rate is declining and U.S. manufacturing production is growing. Also, the critics conveniently ignore when we do have a surplus, such as the fact that our country sells more manufactured goods overall to our FTA partners than we purchase from them. U.S. manufacturing output and exports have quadrupled over the past quarter century. Trade, boosted by trade agreements, is helping to fuel our economy.

Trade and manufacturing go hand in hand. The United States manufactures more today than we have in our entire history. Trade and trade agreements have opened the door to new global opportunities for manufacturers big and small throughout America, helping to sustain and grow jobs for millions of Americans. Let’s continue to make sure manufacturers and America can continue to grow.

Rigorous, Ongoing and Prompt Trade Enforcement Is a Year-Round Manufacturing Priority

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

While much of the attention of World Trade Month is focused on the growth that manufacturers can achieve with a strong market-opening trade agenda, that agenda only works if it is backed by strong enforcement. Trade enforcement applies not only to the trade agreements negotiated that eliminate foreign barriers but also to the trade rules that seek to ensure trade that is free from unfair government distortions. Read More

What Happens When You Shut the Door to Trade?

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

The fears about an open trading system stoked by candidates and antibusiness NGOs alike are premised on inaccurate assumptions and a misunderstanding of our nation’s history.

From its earliest days, farmers and manufacturers in the United States have relied on international trade to access inputs and final products and sell our products to the world. Our Constitution prohibits export taxes because America’s founders understood something many seem to have forgotten: Read More

As World Trade Month Begins, Could We Agree to Start on the Same Page?

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Trade and manufacturing continues to be bandied about in interviews with presidential and other candidates, achieving a level of national attention that it deserves given the importance of trade to manufacturing. Unfortunately, most of the conversations are totally removed from the reality of manufacturing in America today and both the challenges and opportunities it provides to businesses, small and large, and the American workforce.

As we begin World Trade Month, lets all start on the same page:

Manufacturing Output Is at Record Levels.
In the most recent data, manufacturers contributed $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy. This figure has risen since the second quarter of 2009, when manufacturers contributed $1.70 trillion.

 Trade Growth Has Quadrupled Over the Past Quarter Century, as Has Manufacturing Output (See Chart Below).
mfgtrade blog

Free Trade Agreements, Such as NAFTA and Those with 18 Other Countries, Have Been Vital to Grow Manufacturing in America

Manufacturers in America sell 12 times more to our 20 free trade agreement (FTA) partners than to the rest of the world, even though they represent only 6 percent of the world’s consumers. The United States has a trade surplus overall with its FTA partners if that’s how you want to judge the relationship.

Exports FTA
MFG Trade Balance


Manufacturing in America Will Lose to Foreign Competitors if the United States Does Not Move Forward Aggressively with New Trade Agreements, Such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Agreement.

Other countries are more aggressively negotiating trade agreements that exclude and hurt the United States, meaning U.S. exporters face higher tariffs than most other countries in the world:

Tariffs Faced By Ranking Countries

A robust U.S. trade policy to grow manufacturing in America must open foreign markets, ensure strong trade enforcement and improve U.S. manufacturing competitiveness in the face of substantial global competition. Click here to learn more.

Solution-Less Protesters Contrast with Makers, Doers and Dreamers at Hannover Messe

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments
Hannover Messe 2016 Opening Ceremonies. Photo by Keith Smith/NAM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (third from left) and U.S. President Barack Obama (middle) participate in the Hannover Messe 2016 opening ceremonies. Photo by Keith Smith/NAM

Last night, the largest trade show for industrial technology, Hannover Messe, celebrated its 69th year with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama opening the ceremonies. President Obama was given the honors as the United States was chosen as Hannover Messe’s partner country for 2016. This morning, the official trade show ground opened to hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to visit over the next five days as U.S. manufacturing technology is on the world stage and featured at this year’s event. The innovation and excitement in the more than 18 massive buildings housing the trade show are palpable as manufacturers from the United States, Germany and the world come together to share their latest technological advances and workmanship and look to buy and sell equipment that will advance the quality and productivity of manufacturing around the world, while also sustaining and creating high-paying jobs and economic growth.

Outside the trade show doors, a very different and much smaller gathering occurred on Saturday. Trade protestors gathered to criticize the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks that seek to join the United States and European Union in the largest economic and trade partnership. I found the protesters and signs quite revealing, as they railed not only against the TTIP but also a host of other issues, including basic capitalism. As I listened to the chants and discussions, it seemed that the TTIP was nothing more than a rallying cry that subsumes broad rhetorical messages intending to sweep in those with much broader anger and angst about a wide range of issues, whether or not stopping the TTIP will make those issues better or worse. And beyond stopping the TTIP, solutions were nonexistent.

The contrast between the makers, doers and dreamers inside the Hannover fairgrounds and outside is a stark one. Just being at Hannover Messe demonstrates what manufacturers throughout the United States know, but most TTIP and other trade protesters would simply ignore: we live in a global economy and the question is not how to stop competition, but how to succeed globally and promote economic growth and opportunity. Manufacturers big and small throughout the United States and the more than 12 million men and women in their workforce are innovating every day and making products that the world wants and needs. To sustain and grow the U.S. manufacturing economy and jobs, we need more agreements to eliminate barriers and raise standards. That is exactly the ambition of TTIP negotiators who simultaneously began the 13th round of talks today in New York City.

Besides saying “no” for reasons that are not necessarily even related to a trade agreement, protesters aren’t the ones creating and sustaining jobs, innovating or creating the next lifesaving technology. It is far past time for those that participate in the manufacturing economy and create solutions every day talk more and more loudly on what trade and trade agreements mean to our growth.

Shopfloor Event Highlights Why Trade Is Important for U.S. Manufacturing

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Trade continues to be a top-line talker in presidential debates—drawing various (and often unfounded) soundbite criticisms from candidates on both ends of the political spectrum. Manufacturers in the United States, however, face a much more practical reality. Trade is not a choice or an interview question; it is part of the fabric of business everywhere. Whether a manufacturer is selling across town or across the world, manufacturers in the United States are part of the global economy. The question manufacturers seek to ask is the practical one: How can I compete to win?

On Friday, manufacturers big and small who produce a wide assortment of products right here in the United States convened for a Shopfloor panel event in the U.S. Capitol to continue the NAM’s focus of Trade Beyond the Soundbites. Joining me for the event were the following:

  • Daniel R. Dwight, president & CEO, Cooley/Group
  • Roy Paulson, president, Paulson Manufacturing Corporation
  • Ann-Marie Padgett, international advocacy supervisor, Caterpillar Inc.
  • Amy DeArmond, government policy & legal affairs specialist, Leggett & Platt, Inc.

Also participating in the discussion were Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA), chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade, House Ways and Means Committee, and Ron Kind (D-WI), House Ways and Means Committee.

Trade Shopfloor Manufacturing Panel Participants: •Daniel R. Dwight, President & CEO, Cooley/Group •Roy Paulson, President, Paulson Manufacturing Corporation •Ann-Marie Padgett, International Advocacy Supervisor, Caterpillar Inc. •Amy DeArmond, Government Policy & Legal Affairs Specialist, Leggett & Platt, Inc. •Linda Dempsey, Vice President, International Economic Affairs, NAM (moderator) They were joined by Representative Dave Reichert, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade, House Ways and Means Committee and Representative Ron Kind, House Ways and Means Committee, who spoke on the impotance of trade to the US economy.. The discussion took place at the US Capitol on April 15, 2016. The global economy presents opportunities and challenges to manufacturers big and small across the United States. While America continues to be a large and important market for manufacturers, 95 percent of the world’s population and more than 70 percent of purchasing power are found overseas. America’s manufacturers face tough competition from manufacturers around the world and trade barriers and unfair trade practices that limit opportunities and undermine U.S. competitiveness, including in the Asia-Pacific region and in the European Union. Please join the NAM for a Shopfloor discussion on the importance of trade for manufacturers, including how strong trade agreements such as our free trade agreements with 20 countries, are helping to strengthen America’s manufacturing competitiveness in overseas markets, reduce existing trade barriers and support and grow good-paying jobs in America.

Trade Shopfloor Manufacturing Panel Participants (from left): Amy DeArmond, government policy & legal affairs specialist, Leggett & Platt, Inc.; Roy Paulson, president, Paulson Manufacturing Corporation; Ann-Marie Padgett, international advocacy supervisor, Caterpillar Inc.; Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI); Linda Dempsey, vice president, international economic affairs, NAM (moderator); and Daniel R. Dwight, president & CEO, Cooley/Group. Not pictured: Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade, House Ways and Means Committee. Photo by: David Bohrer/NAM

For those who joined the discussion, it was an instructive one. The discussion centered on the impact of trade, trade agreements, export financing and other tools on the ability of the U.S. manufacturing sector and individual manufacturers to grow their business and sustain and produce good-paying American jobs. With most of the world’s population outside our borders, it was no surprise to many of us that for many manufacturers, increased trade growth means more relationships, more business, more products, more innovation and more and better-paying jobs. Read More

Quorum Call – Ex-Im Board Needs Directors Confirmed to Operate Fully

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

This week, U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank users, stakeholders and government officials, including members of the administration, will convene in Washington, D.C., for the 2016 Annual Ex-Im Summit. There’s reason to celebrate at this year’s conference as the Ex-Im Bank, a critical tool for businesses of all sizes across the United States, was reauthorized last December by a supermajority in Congress after an extensive advocacy campaign. While the Ex-Im Bank’s doors are open, it can’t operate at full capacity because three of the five seats on its board of directors are empty. As a result, the Ex-Im Bank lacks the necessary quorum to review and approve certain transactions. If Congress fails to act on the pending nomination to the board, the agency will be handicapped in its mission to help U.S. exporters compete and succeed in the global consumer marketplace. With 95 percent of those consumers outside our borders, the Ex-Im Bank helps exporters take advantage of huge market opportunities overseas that will fuel job growth here at home.  Read More

Critics Use Same Flawed Scare Tactics to Bash Trade Deals

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Trade critics continue to roll out the same tired arguments lashing out against trade deals that create critical opportunities for American businesses, workers and consumers, even though these arguments have been proven wrong time and time again.

The Sierra Club issued the latest salvo recently, with a new paper that repeats its typical criticisms of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The paper seeks to present a stark picture of the future, warning of a pending “swell” of ISDS challenges to scare governments from moving forward on public interest regulations.

Sound familiar?  It should. Anti-trade environmental groups have used these far-fetched arguments before, even though none of what they have predicted has ever come to pass. The Sierra Club’s claims about the United States’ free trade deal with South Korea is a good example where they warned that the deal would “significantly raise the likelihood of more costly investor-state cases targeting U.S. laws and regulations.”

These arguments are scare tactics, not grounded in facts. After four years, not a single ISDS case has been filed under the Korea-U.S. (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement (FTA). In fact, the United States has free trade agreements in force with 20 countries and bilateral investment treaties in place with approximately 40 countries, and yet has faced only a small number of ISDS cases: 18 cases over the past 25 years. The United States has a strong track record here, having won every single case that has been concluded.

The truth is that ISDS is all about fair play, making sure that governments keep their international commitments, respect private property and treat all companies fairly and without discrimination. Here are some of the key facts about ISDS: Read More

U.S. Rejects Canada’s Claims to Self-Define IP Terms in Ongoing Dispute

By | intellectual property, Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, Shopfloor Legal, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey and NAM Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Patrick Forrest co-authored this blog post.

Manufacturers welcome the U.S. government’s strong rejection of Canada’s arguments in a pending investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). Like the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the U.S. government has made clear that Canada cannot self-define core intellectual property (IP) obligations in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In a filing to the NAFTA tribunal hearing the case, the United States also fully affirmed that patents are investments that are protected from expropriation, meaning that the governments cannot seize or invalidate them without fair compensation. IP rights are of high importance to manufacturers in the United States and the good-paying jobs manufacturing provides throughout the country. Read More