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Linda Dempsey

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 is provides to businesses, small and large, and the American workforce.

As we begin World Trade Month, let’s 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 Last Quarter Century, as has Manufacturing Output (see chart below).
mfgtrade blog

Free Trade Agreements, like 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 FTA partners than to the rest of the world, even though they represent only six 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 like 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

Trade Beyond the Sound Bites

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

The presidential campaigns have brought trade front and center in their debates and on social and traditional media. Lots of statements are made and repeated that bear no relation to the reality that manufacturers in the United States face every day in the global economy. Perhaps sound bites don’t make for an easy way to talk about the opportunities and challenges that trade creates for manufacturers big and small.

The NAM, which was founded in 1895 in substantial part to open foreign markets for the U.S. manufacturing industry, is committed to informing and educating both policymakers and the broader public about the impact of trade on manufacturing and the agenda that we believe will help us grow manufacturing in a highly competitive global economy. To that end, the NAM hosted yesterday a digital event featuring a panel of trade experts: Ambassador Carla Hills, former U.S. trade representative; Tony Fratto, former White House communications expert and founding partner at Hamilton Place Strategies; and Chuck Wetherington, president at BTE Technologies.

Watch the event by clicking here.

From left: Wetherington, Fratto, Hills, Dempsey gather for Periscope panel on trade. Photo by: D. Thoennessen/NAM

From left: Wetherington, Fratto, Hills and Dempsey gather for a Periscope panel on trade. Photo by: D. Thoennessen/NAM

The panelists provided decades of experience at the forefront of U.S. policy and the business reality that manufacturers face in selling domestically and overseas in competition from businesses in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. I set the table for the conversation with a point oftentimes missed in the broad public discussion on trade: manufacturing is growing in the United States. Manufacturing output is currently at its highest level ever, quadrupling since 1980 to reach a record high of $2.17 trillion in 2015. As the most productive manufacturing sector in the world, our manufacturers need to expand their customer base, including to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers that live outside our borders. Read More

NAM Highlights Key Trade Priorities Ahead of Prime Minister Trudeau’s Visit

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

This week, newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will arrive in Washington for a state visit—a demonstration of the deep ties that connect the United States and Canada—and the first state dinner for a Canadian leader in nearly two decades.

The United States and Canada share a vibrant trade and investment relationship. Canada had long been the largest U.S. trading partner and ranked second last year behind only China. Canada remains the largest U.S. export market for manufactured goods (totalling $246 billion), and Canada is the United States’ third-largest supplier of manufactured goods imports (totalling $208 billion). Cross-border U.S.-Canadian investment remains high, with Canada the largest destination for U.S. foreign direct investment in manufacturing at $107 billion, and Canadian investment in manufacturing in the United States the eighth largest source at $57 billion.

Despite our vast network of commercial ties with Canada, the two countries are facing several priority trade policy and investment issues. As Prime Minister Trudeau and his delegation meet with President Obama and other key U.S. government officials, manufacturers urge them to address these topics as they consider how to further enhance our economic relationship. Read More

Passage of Customs Legislation Is a Promise Kept

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

Today’s strong Senate vote to send the conference report to H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, to the president’s desk for his signature is an enormous victory for manufacturers.  Outdated customs and border policies are costing American manufacturers billions of dollars a year in increased operating costs and unfair trade; they are essentially requiring businesses across the country to compete with one hand tied behind their backs. It is long past time to bring these policies up to date by cutting red tape and implementing practices that will strengthen manufacturers’ ability to compete globally on a fair and level playing field.

In spite of widespread support among many industries, including ours, and across party lines, this legislation has endured a long road to final passage. When Trade Promotion Authority and trade preference and adjustment legislation were enacted more than seven months ago, lawmakers made promises to grow manufacturing in the United States by completing the work on trade facilitation and enforcement legislation. Today’s final passage of this critical trade legislation is an important promise kept to manufacturers big and small throughout the United States.

infographics-01 Read More

Is the Sky Falling Again? TransCanada, Investor-State and the TPP

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

On January 6, 2016, TransCanada Corporation filed two separate lawsuits against the U.S. government’s November 2015 rejection of TransCanada’s plan to build the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from Canada to the United States:

  • One case was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, claiming that the president acted unconstitutionally in unilaterally prohibiting further development of the Keystone XL pipeline, arguing his action was unsupported by any statute and contrary to the expressed wishes of Congress. The claim seeks in principal part to secure a declaration that no presidential approval is needed to construct the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • A second case was noticed and will be brought before international arbitration under the Chapter 11 investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) procedures of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) claiming that the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline was contrary to the United States’ NAFTA obligations to provide Canadian investment treatment in accordance with international law, to protect against uncompensated expropriation and to ensure non-discriminatory treatment. TransCanada is seeking damages for the NAFTA violations. The claim cannot be formally filed until six months after the November 6 denial of the presidential permit to build the pipeline.

Trade and investment critics have focused on the NAFTA ISDS case as a new “cause célèbre” to once again suggest that the sky is falling and urge the rejection of the recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Once again, they have it completely wrong. Read More