Technology

Internet Regulation Will Slow Manufacturing Growth

Manufacturers are innovation leaders. They leverage technology in every aspect of their business. It is in their products, their processes, and pervasive throughout their enterprise. All types of technology including software, sophisticated machines, and especially the internet have led to unprecedented growth in the manufacturing sector. Unfortunately, we continue to see more calls for regulation of the internet that if answered will only hinder manufacturing growth.

The issue of internet regulation and the negative impact it will have on manufacturing is not new to the NAM. We recently weighed in with the D.C. Circuit that the FCC did not have the authority to adopt rules to regulate the internet. The Court’s decision supported our position. And just today we heard Members of Congress and witnesses agree during a hearing of the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee that more regulation will stifle investment and innovation

Despite strong opposition by the courts, many policymakers, and especially manufacturers, some in Congress and the Administration still want to make another attempt to regulate the internet. As manufacturers utilize communications technologies to connect their shopfloors, their products, and their customers the NAM will continue to stress our member-driven policy: Regulations that have the potential to dampen private industry’s incentive to invest in technology and the internet will hurt the manufacturing comeback.

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Toyota Testifies on Connected Car Technology

The “connected car,” equipped with vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) sounds like a futuristic idea firmly set in science fiction – but that idea, once entrenched in fantasy, is quickly approaching reality.

This technological revolution happening in your automobiles is increasing safety, boosting fuel efficiency, and raising the convenience and comfort of riding in a car.

Toyota is playing a leading role in this revolution and Vice President of the Toyota Technical Center, Kristen Tabar, appeared before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology today to do discuss the future of surface transportation.

Tabar told the subcommittee members that, “We have no doubt that the technology will save lives, improve the environment, create jobs and help the U.S. maintain technical leadership in a field that will be an important contributor to economic growth in the future.” But she also spoke of the challenges that lie ahead in making the most of these innovations. She called on policymakers to support the major advances of V2V and V2I communication with greater investments in infrastructure and protection of medium-range wireless spectrum from unlicensed devices.

We all stand to benefit if Congress and the Administration put their full support behind making these important innovations part of everyone’s driving experience.

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Don’t Tax Our Internet: Part IV

Over the past 16 years, the Internet has become a critical piece of infrastructure for Manufacturers in the United States and a ban on new state and local taxes on Internet access has a lot to do with the incredible amount of investment in the broadband networks. Unfortunately, unless Congress acts soon, this temporary moratorium will expire for the fourth time in November 2014 with the potential of raising costs significantly for all businesses and families.

NAM members wholeheartedly agree with the conclusion of economist George Ford in a recent paper released by the Phoenix Center that a permanent Internet Tax Moratorium will ensure continued robust broadband adoption and investment in the United States. We strongly support bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, scheduled to be taken up tomorrow by the House Judiciary Committee. Kudos to Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) along with Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Steve Chabot(R-OH) who cosponsored the bill. Extending the moratorium encourages innovation and economic growth and the sooner Congress removes the tax threat the better.

UPDATE:

The Judiciary Committee has officially put the permanent kibosh on taxation of access to broadband internet. This is an important step and manufacturers urge Congress to pass this bill in an expeditious fashion.

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NAM Weighs in with White House on Cybersecurity

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) today joined more than 20 other associations from a diverse set of industries on a letter to White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel. The letter was in response to a May 22 blog by Daniel in which he recognized the important partnership that has to exist between the public and private sector in order to enhance our nation’s cybersecurity.

The NAM has called for legislation to increase the ability to share information between manufacturers and the federal government. This legislation has passed the House and we encourage the Senate to also act. Manufacturers have also actively participated in the development of the NIST Cybersecurity framework and will continue to engage. As the letter states, the NAM agrees with Mr. Daniel that the framework “should remain collaborative, voluntary, and innovative over the long term” and should not lead to a new regulatory regime.

Manufacturers are committed to keeping our assets secure and therefore keeping our nation safe. The letter captures many of the initiatives already underway across many industries to educate companies on the latest cybersecurity tools and trends. The NAM’s D.A.T.A. Center is highlighted in the letter as one of the innovative ways manufacturers are working together on the issue of cybersecurity and our other technology priorities.

The NAM and our members continue to remain vigilant against the persistent cyberthreat in today’s connected world. We are pleased to see the White House make these public statements that the want to partner with us in these efforts.

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Trade Secrets are Manufacturers “Special Sauce”

NAM Board Member companies Marlin Steel Wire Products, Boeing and Eli Lilly and Company testified today at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism entitled, “Economic Espionage and Trade Secret Theft: Are Our Laws Adequate for Today’s Threats?”

Marlin Steel Wire President Drew Greenblatt, Boeing Vice President Peter Hoffman and Eli Lilly Vice President Douglas Norman drove home the message that trade secret theft is a grave threat to manufacturers in the U.S. – putting jobs, growth and investment at risk.

“Small businesses, in particular, rely on trade secrets to protect their innovations,” Greenblatt testified. “At Marlin Steel Wire, trade secrets are our intellectual property – our “secret sauce.” But trade secrets theft “has a measurable, real world impact,” he added. “It costs good paying jobs and can even put entire businesses at risk.”

As the world’s leader in innovation, manufacturers in the U.S. constantly find their intellectual property (IP) under attack from not only their competitors, but from foreign governments as well. The cost is enormous and manufacturers can only do so much – no matter how many precautions they take.

Manufacturers need a strong, unified federal policy that will enforce strict laws to protect IP and trade secrets. Greenblatt, Hoffman and Norman specifically called for access to federal civil enforcement for trade secrets theft, which legislation like the “Defend Trade Secrets Act” (S.2267) introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) would provide.

Additionally, through trade agreements and international negotiations, the U.S. must partner with law-abiding nations to address this threat. “With effective criminal protection and access to federal civil enforcement hear at home, U.S. negotiators can work with our overseas partners to improve trade secret protection,” Greenblatt said.

This is a critical issue facing manufacturers, one that will define competition and success in the 21st century. Manufacturers will continue to work with policymakers to ensure they can efficiently and effectively protect and enforce their trade secrets.

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Senators Look at America’s Innovation Pipeline

The Senate Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing today called “Driving Innovation Through Federal Investments” and what impact sequestration and other budget cuts are having on innovation in America.

Manufacturers for years have been the world’s leading innovators. We have the most patents and spend the most on research and development than any other industry. The NAM is an aggressive leader on behalf of manufacturers and ensuring their continued ability to innovate.

In many instances, manufacturers will partner with universities and the government on groundbreaking research that is much more difficult to achieve if these types of partnerships did not exist. What we have seen recently is that due to sequestration and across-the-board, indiscriminate budget cuts, the United States is facing an innovation deficit compared to other countries and their investment in innovation. The NAM warned of this potential “brain drain” – the innovation infrastructure, and the men and women behind it, must be constantly nurtured. Otherwise we will see it rust and eventually disappear.

The NAM co-chairs the Task Force on American Innovation, a group of leading corporations, universities, and professional societies supporting public-private partnerships, which weighed in with the Senate Appropriations Committee by submitting testimony for today’s hearing. The Task Force and other groups called on Congress to take a sensible approach to our nation’s fiscal challenges that allows wise investments in research and education and creates economic and job growth.

America is still the unquestionable leader in manufacturing and innovation. But we are risking that lead if we don’t close the innovation deficit.

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Manufacturers Stand Strongly Behind Public-Private Partnerships for Innovation

As Jay Timmons, NAM president and CEO, has been saying overseas in Germany and Belgium this week, ALL manufacturing is advanced manufacturing these days. It is fueled by innovation and technology that delivers life-changing and life-improving products. However, that sort of innovation doesn’t just happen – it takes effort, dedicated resources and a commitment from both the public and private sector.

The Senate Committee for Commerce, Science and Technology is set to mark-up legislation tomorrow, S. 1468 that would authorize funding for manufacturing hubs across the country. The pilot program in Youngstown, Ohio has already delivered success in additive manufacturing solutions and we expect even greater things as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) expands.

The NAM strongly supports this legislation, and Timmons has highlighted it’s potential benefits to Chairman Rockefeller (D-WV) and Ranking Member Thune (R-SD). The potential of these hubs are critical to our future way of life. As Timmons wrote, “The type of public-private manufacturing hubs that S. 1468 would authorize funding for would not only lead to groundbreaking developments that have the potential to be on par with the light bulb or the airplane but it will get these products to market faster and drive the growth of jobs in the United States versus outside our borders.”

Manufacturers will continue to stand behind the NNMI and legislation that will put the necessary resources behind it.

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Timmons Talks Advanced Manufacturing in Germany

NAM’s President and CEO Jay Timmons is in Hannover, Germany talking up manufacturing in the U.S. and the sleek, technology driven processes that make our nation the best place to make things in the world. Advanced manufacturing is a term that is often used, but the reality is that manufacturers have been the innovation leaders for decades and  ALL manufacturers know that to compete in a global marketplace they must use advanced processes and technologies.  The intersection of technology and manufacturing is a fascinating place – and the next generation of life changing products are coming out of shop floors in the United States.

Manufacturers spend more on research and development than any other sector of our economy. Companies like Harley Davidson, Texas Instruments and others are using sophisticated software and the Internet of Things to become more efficient and move through production more quickly. Timmons told the audience in Hannover these stories and rededicated manufacturers need for, and commitment to, innovation. He voiced his strong  support for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, “hubs” that are bringing together the private and public sectors to spur the development of new technologies, partnerships inspired by similar initiatives in Germany.

As Timmons remarked, “Our increasingly competitive global marketplace demands that manufacturers continue to strive for that technological edge.”

It’s trips and partnerships like these that will get us there.

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Today’s Cybersecurity Framework Must Not Lead to New Regulations Tomorrow

One year ago, President Obama issued an Executive Order on cybersecurity tasking the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to coordinate meetings with the private sector and produce a cybersecurity “framework” for owners and operators of critical infrastructure. The final version of that framework was released today after much input by all segments of manufacturing.

NIST held a series of workshops around the country and solicited feedback from the private sector on how best the government can partner with owners and operators of critical infrastructure to create this framework. They sought input on technology, standards, and implementation among other issues. The result is a 40+ page document that includes recommended activities and best practices to help secure networks and data in critical infrastructure sectors. The framework also provides “profiles” and “tiers” aimed at assisting organizations benchmark their current cybersecurity practices.

This framework and the related policy debate matter to all manufacturers because we are the owners, operators, and builders of critical infrastructure. Because of this all NAM members take cybersecurity very seriously and they welcomed the opportunity to work with the Administration on this important effort. Manufacturers understand that our economic security is linked directly to our cybersecurity. As the President rightly said in his statement issued today on the framework, “our economy is harmed by the theft of our intellectual property”. This is the reason that manufacturers go to great lengths to secure their enterprise and we were pleased to see many of our current best practices included in the framework.

As manufacturers and policymakers examine the framework, the NAM continues to stress that it must remain voluntary. Any attempt to turn these guidelines into mandatory regulations will have the opposite effect of enhancing cybersecurity. As the NAM has said numerous times to the Administration and Congress, the best way to increase cybersecurity of our critical infrastructure is to pass legislation that allows for the sharing of information between the public and private sector without the threat of liability for doing so.

The NAM looks forward to continuing our work with the Administration and Capitol Hill on this top priority for manufacturers.

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SOTU: Innovation Drives Manufacturing Growth

Tonight the President furthered his commitment to manufacturing hubs around the United States, announcing that he plans to place 6 more of them this year.  Manufacturing technology and innovation are the lifeblood behind manufacturing growth, and we have long supported public-private partnership that will spur advancements in manufacturing.

The first two hubs, in Ohio and North Carolina, have the ground floor support and involvement of NAM members and we’re expect that NAM members will continue to lead the way as these hubs progress. We’re committed to continuing working with the Administration on these and other priorities in a fiscally responsible manner.

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