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Shopfloor Policy

NAM Urges SEC to Suspend Pay Ratio Rule

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In response to a February 6th statement and request for comment made by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Acting Chairman, Michael Piwowar as he reexamines the pay ratio rule, the NAM submitted comments March 23rd urging the SEC to indefinitely suspend implementation of the rule while encouraging Congress to repeal this onerous requirement. The NAM also joined with several other trade associations in a joint letter to the SEC, voicing unified opposition to the pay ratio requirement.  Read More

Senate Moves to Reign In Regulatory Overreach on Innovators

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Late last year the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under the guise of protecting privacy, rolled out a rule creating a new and unnecessary regulatory regime that would impact the ability of manufacturers to innovate. Today, the US Senate passed a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act that would rescind the regulation. This is good news for manufacturers.  Read More

Manufacturers Disappointed by U.S.-Canada Investment Ruling that Sidesteps Core IP Questions to the Detriment of U.S. Manufacturing

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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 Support Committee Action on Mobile Workforce Bill

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The NAM is pleased that the House Judiciary Committee on March 21 is slated to consider the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 1393) introduced by U.S. Reps. Mike Bishop (R-MI) and Hank Johnson (D-GA). The bill, which has been introduced in a several previous Congresses, clarifies and simplifies the ability of states to tax non-resident employees temporarily working in the state and eliminate a tax and compliance burden felt by job creators and their workers. From our perspective, this commonsense legislation is more urgent than ever.

Many manufacturers have employees who travel outside their home states as part of their job. Unfortunately, these out-of-state assignments sometimes result in an arbitrary and punitive compliance burden and tax liability for both employees and employers. In particular, employees are required to track and comply with various tax filing requirements while employers are required to maintain records and withhold state income taxes for these employees. This compliance burden is particularly onerous for small and medium-sized manufacturers that do not have in-house tax departments.

H.R. 1393 would clarify that a state cannot assess state income taxes on a nonresident employee temporarily working in the state for 30 days or less in a calendar year. Conversely, states could legitimately tax nonresident employees working more than 30 days a year in the state.

We urge all members of Congress to support quick action on this important tax simplification legislation. Clarifying the ability of states to tax mobile workforces will free up resources for employers to use in their business and leave more money in the paychecks of their employees.

New Strategy Needed to Address Foreign Price Controls, Other Localization Barriers

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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 Depend on Strong Global Intellectual Property Protections to Compete and Win

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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

America’s Infrastructure Stuck with a D+ Grade

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Today, the American Society of Civil Engineers released the “Infrastructure Report Card.” Unfortunately, America’s infrastructure again receives a D+ rating. Marlin Steel Wire Products President and Owner and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Small and Medium Manufacturers Group Chair Drew Greenblatt described the impact our aging infrastructure system has on manufacturers. Greenblatt also authored an article, titled “Five Keys to Infrastructure Investment & Why It’s Critical for U.S. Manufacturing.”                                                                                                             Read More

House Science Committee to Advance Important Legislation on EPA Transparency and Public Engagement

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Tomorrow, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will hold a meeting to mark up two pieces of legislation: the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act of 2017 (the HONEST Act), introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), and the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act (the SAB Reform Act), introduced by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK). Manufacturers have long supported the SAB Reform Act and the HONEST Act’s predecessor, the Secret Science Reform Act, and we look forward to working with the committee to advance these important bills.

The SAB Reform Act would modernize the policies and procedures governing the SAB of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that the SAB is best equipped to provide independent, transparent and balanced reviews of the science the EPA uses to guide its regulatory decisions. Manufacturers support policies that favor markets, adhere to sound principles of science and risk assessment and are informed by a public rule-making process that is open and inclusive. The SAB serves a quality control function for the science the EPA uses to justify new regulations; this bill helps strengthen the SAB so that it can be completely neutral in carrying out its duties.

The HONEST Act would require the EPA to make its underlying science and data sufficiently publicly available such that independent analysis can substantially reproduce the results. The public should have the ability to scrutinize the data behind regulations and verify the information (provided, of course, that confidential business information is sufficiently protected). This will create a more transparent regulatory system that will create better outcomes from the regulatory process.

Manufacturers support the EPAs mission and strive to work collaboratively with the agency to achieve shared goals of environmental protection and a strong economy. We look forward to working with the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to advance this legislation and improve transparency and public input.

BASF and NAM Support Career and Technical Education

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On Tuesday, Glenn E. Johnson, manufacturing workforce development leader at BASF Corporation, testified before the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce at a hearing, titled “Providing More Students a Pathway to Success by Strengthening Career and Technical Education.” Mr. Johnson highlighted BASF’s successful activities with Career and Technical Education (CTE) and the importance of these programs to the overall education pipeline. Read More