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Robyn Boerstling

Yes, Indiana Has a Port System

By | Infrastructure, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

“Yes, Indiana Has a Port System.”

From the crossroads of America, Indiana Ports and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) hosted an important session with manufacturers, truckers, engineering firms, thought leaders as well as state and local officials about maximizing infrastructure investments and strategically positioning and advocating for infrastructure in ongoing national debates.

Indiana is a top manufacturing state in the nation – representing the highest manufacturing employment in the United States – 17 percent of the Hoosier workforce. With manufacturing well represented in Indiana’s economic footprint, investment in roads, rails, Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan and two inland ports on the Ohio River could not be more important. Fifty-seven percent of the state’s border is water.

Due to complex supply chains of manufacturers and just-in-time inventory principles, leading manufacturers like ArcelorMittal and Subaru of Indiana need Indiana infrastructure to perform and to perform second to none. The good news is that the state has made significant investments, raised revenues and supported projects that the business community needs in order to keep competitive. It has a vibrant supply of rail, trucking and waterway services. But these sectors do not operate in isolation.

The challenge however remains projects of regional and national significance that make a system-wide impact on the movement of critical materials and goods throughout the country and world. In Indianapolis, the roundtable participants raised the genuine concern about the long-term condition of the Soo Lock System and especially the Poe Lock in Michigan. The current “Poe” lock was built in 1969 and is at risk of failure. It handles over 90 percent of US-flag vessel cargo passing between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes, including over 40 million tons of iron ore and coal destined for steel mills.

The status quo of the Poe lock and the aging locks on the inland waterway system is a threat to manufacturing because a catastrophic failure will harm the economy and jobs. According to a 2015 U.S. Department of Homeland Security report, an unanticipated six-month closure of the Poe Lock would likely result in widespread bankruptcies and dislocations throughout the economy. Over 10 million people in the United States and two to five million more in Canada and Mexico would lose their jobs. North American economies would enter a severe recession. The U.S. recession impacts would be concentrated in the Great Lakes region though California and Texas would experience some of the largest job losses. Entire manufacturing industries would be debilitated, including: automobiles; appliances; construction, farming and mining equipment; and railcars and locomotives.

Indiana and others states are competing against industrial behemoths like China, Japan and Germany. Competition between states will always be around but the focus on edging out the international competition is even more acute. These competitors do not even think twice about robustly investing in infrastructure to support industry. Productivity growth in the United States is central to expanding the U.S. economy, and while, it’s bigger than one industry or one state, more efficient transportation and infrastructure systems are necessary to create an environment that fosters increased productivity. The Infrastructure Week message to the President, House of Representatives and the Senate: #TimeToBuild is vital now. The NAM has produced an infrastructure toolkit to provide manufacturers the resources to amplify this Infrastructure Week message.

Ill-conceived drug pricing proposal targets one disease – offering no guarantees, only complications.

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Over 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes – one of several chronic medical conditions that have accounted for an overall increased demand for health services as well as increased costs for medical care. Unfortunately, the solutions to chronic conditions are complex and there is no one simple solution. New innovative treatments, advanced therapies as well as a faster route for generics to be approved by the FDA offer some hope. And coupled with aggressive prevention and wellness practices, there can be additional improvements that include controlled costs and improved outcomes. Read More

Keep Innovation Alive and Safe

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Today, the Senate HELP Committee marks up S. 934, Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act. In a March letter to the Committee leaders, the NAM expressed its strong support for a swift and timely reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration user fee agreements covering prescription drugs, medical devices, biosimilars and generic drugs. Manufacturers urge the Committee to maintain its momentum so that S. 934 can stay on schedule, ahead of a September 30 deadline. Any delay of the FDA Reauthorization Act risks future gains in medical discovery and harm to our global standing. Read More

Manufactures Eager for Congress to Eliminate Health Care Taxes and Support Today’s Vote

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As Congress seeks to pass, H.R. 1628 the American Health Care Act today, this legislative vehicle remains to be the primary remedy to address the onerous mandates and taxes associated with Obamacare. Unfortunately, some in the media are making ill-informed assumptions about how this legislation will impact employer-sponsored coverage.  Read More

Manufacturers Need Policymakers to Advance Infrastructure; It’s Time for Real Solutions

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Manufacturers appreciate President Donald Trump’s commitment to deliver an infrastructure proposal in two to three weeks and his consideration of a range of funding sources, from tax credits to the gas tax. We could not agree more that there is no one solution to fund a significant $1 trillion infrastructure investment, and it is time to be bold and meaningful. Moreover, it’s time for Congress and the administration to unify under a “Building to Win” strategy as outlined by the National Association of Manufacturers. Read More

Keep Louisiana Open for Business, Protect Innovation

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From petrochemicals to metals and even world-class food products that consumers around the world enjoy, Louisiana manufacturers with a special process or “secret sauce” make up the core of the state’s innovators. Manufacturers, in particular, account for more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the United States. R&D is critical to their success and the countless other Louisiana enterprises that rely on them. And in an extremely competitive global economy, if a company isn’t innovating, it’s falling behind. Read More

Protect Maryland’s Innovators, Reject “Transparency” Legislation

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From automobile and steel production to print and publishing services, Maryland manufacturers and other research-based companies today serve as global innovators. Manufacturers in particular account for more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the United States. R&D is critical to both their success and the countless other Maryland enterprises that rely on them. And in an extremely competitive global economy, if a company isn’t innovating, it’s falling behind. Read More

Protect Montana’s Innovators, “Transparency” Legislation Is Wrong Approach

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Montana manufacturers, technology companies and other research-based operations are global innovators. Manufacturers in particular account for more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the United States. R&D is critical to the success of the countless Montana enterprises that rely on innovation. And in an extremely competitive global economy, if a company isn’t innovating, it’s falling behind.

This is especially true for biopharmaceutical manufacturers creating new medicines for patients and animals. However, the price of manufacturing a new medicine is extremely costly and risky. On average, it takes a decade to bring a new patient medicine through the entire R&D process and into the marketplace, and only about 12 percent of the medicines that enter the process are actually approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that manufacturers’ R&D and proprietary information are not compromised.

Unfortunately, “transparency” legislation was recently introduced in Montana that would force biopharmaceutical manufacturers to turn over highly confidential information and proprietary data related to R&D as well as sales and marketing costs. This approach would have damaging effects and would not reduce health care costs. Requiring manufacturers to publicly reveal a breakdown of specific costs and information related to trade secrets would in no way benefit consumers and could impede competition, which would drive up costs.

The time, effort and costs associated with bringing new medicines or products to market must be acknowledged and valued. While this specific bill is targeted at manufacturers of medicine, it sets an alarming precedent for manufacturers across all industries. In short, it’s a slippery slope for all industries once established.  Any legislation that jeopardizes manufacturers’ highly confidential information and deters innovators from innovating is a threat to consumers, manufacturing jobs and the state’s economy.

The manufacturing industry employs more than 18,700 Montanans in high-skilled and high-wage jobs. Policymakers in Montana and at the federal level should work to create policies that help innovators attract and retain investment. The NAM opposes any efforts that would invalidate longstanding intellectual property and trade secrets protections and force manufacturers of medicines to heed new government-driven demands that are contrary to basic free market principles.