Category

Trade

TPP in Real Life: Texas Medium-Sized Manufacturer Exports Products to over 30 Countries

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments
Polyguard’s primary production facility in Ennis, Texas. Courtesy: PolyGuard

Polyguard’s primary production facility in Ennis, Texas. Photo courtesy: Polyguard

Polyguard Products Inc. is an Ennis, Texas-based, 138-employee manufacturer that specializes in products that protect surfaces and structures from moisture, water and other substances. The company, which is 100 percent employee stock-owned, has experienced 24 consecutive years of unbroken sales expansion, dating all the way back to 1992.

Polyguard has received Presidential Export Achievement Awards in 2010 and 2014, success driven in large part by the company’s exports to about 30 countries of pipeline coatings for oil and gas-buried line maintenance and building products for high-value construction projects. Ten of these countries are in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with Vietnam currently the company’s largest market in the Asia-Pacific Region. Polyguard also ships products to Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, among other countries in the region.

Polyguard RD-6® pipeline coating applied in Manila, Philippines. Photo Courtesy: Polyguard

Polyguard RD-6® pipeline coating applied in Manila, Philippines. Photo Courtesy: Polyguard

I recently spoke to Nathan Muncaster, Polyguard’s Director of Global Business Development, who underscored the importance of strong free trade agreements for manufacturing companies like Polyguard. “Intellectual property protections and a predictable regulatory environment are critical for small- and medium-sized manufacturers like Polyguard that cannot maintain local production or offices outside of the United States. Trade agreements like the TPP strengthen the legal, intellectual property and regulatory environment in our trading partners, helping to boost exports that support manufacturing growth and jobs here in the United States.”

Muncaster went on to say, “We urge Congress to approve the TPP” – a sentiment shared by many manufacturers of all sizes throughout the United States.

With charts, graphs and political rhetoric flying around, it’s easy to forget the human aspect of trade: the many peoples’ lives that manufactured products touch, how far those products travel to reach customers around the world, and the jobs in the United States created and supported in the process. Polyguard’s story is one of the many trade stories that need to be shared as the debate over TPP continues.

Over the coming weeks, using this blog, we will highlight several of these stories that demonstrate the importance of free trade agreements, specifically the TPP for individual manufacturers in the United States and for their employees and communities

Manufacturers Welcome WTO Solar Panel Decision

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Manufacturers welcome today’s U.S. victory on solar energy with the WTO’s rejection of India’s appeal and urge the Indian government to move quickly to dismantle its discriminatory domestic content requirements that have blocked access for U.S. solar cell modules. As each and every previous ruling in this case has shown, India’s domestic content requirements are a clear violation of core WTO rules and today’s victory will give an important boost to U.S. manufacturing. This decision also demonstrates why the strong rules-based WTO system and trade agreements with binding and strong enforcement rules are critical to open markets and eliminate unfair barriers overseas. The NAM congratulates Ambassador Froman and the USTR for their successful efforts. Read More

House Committee Approves Bill to Repeal Pay Ratio, Conflict Minerals

By | Policy Experts, Shopfloor Policy, Taxation, Trade | No Comments

Blog co-authored with Ken Monahan, Director of International Trade Policy.

More than six years since Congress approved the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday took a step to modify or repeal various provisions from that law. The Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 5983), approved by the Committee, specifically addresses some of the provisions that manufacturers have been raising concerns with for years, including the pay ratio and conflict minerals requirements. Read More

Lose-Lose Proposal from UNHLP Panel Represents a Missed Opportunity and Poses a Real Threat

By | Health Care, Innovation, intellectual property, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

A highly flawed report that employs the mantle of global health to take aim at innovation and manufacturing was released today by a U.N. panel, representing a real missed opportunity to focus the world on collaborative and effective solutions that could make a substantial difference for real people facing access barriers.  Read More

Colombia Doubles Down on Anti-Innovation Actions with New Declaration on Price

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Earlier today, Colombia doubled down on recent anti-innovation steps that continue to prompt questions about the country’s commitment to an open, pro-manufacturing investment climate that is needed to grow its economy. By confirming plans to enforce a Declaration of Public Interest (DPI) and force a 45 percent price cut for Glivec, an innovative pharmaceutical product, Colombia’s Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MHSP) took a step that is not only unwarranted, but also undermines its own economic growth trajectory. Read More

More Smoke and Mirrors, but Nothing New from the Anti-Trade Lobby

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Another article, another letter and another press call from those opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and particularly its investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions emerged today.  What we’ve seen over the last two weeks is in reality just more of the smoke and mirrors approach that opponents have been using for years, rehashing the same tired, false and discredited critiques of ISDS. These critiques have been rejected again and again by:

  • The Obama Administration when if fully considered and rejected these same arguments in their 2009-2012 Model BIT review, which included a broad public comment process;
  • The Senate last year when it strongly rejected Senator Elizabeth Warren’s amendment to eliminate ISDS from Trade Promotion Authority;
  • Both the House and the Senate when they rejected such arguments and voted in favor of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation last year with its explicit direction to negotiate ISDS in new trade agreements; and
  • A broad range of well-grounded academics, think tank experts, and media outlets including the Washington Post and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

But like a group of vaudeville magicians – and equally out-of-date – the anti-trade and anti-ISDS crowd is using a slight of hand  to distract from the clear facts: that ISDS is a respected mechanism, fully in line with our own Constitution and basic rules, that helps protect individuals, NGOs and businesses alike from discriminatory and unfair conduct.

For those that may be new to the debate, here’s a mini-video course of why ISDS is valuable.

Fair Play

Read More

Politics’ Corrosive Effect on Jobs Has Gone Too Far

By | Economy, Energy, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Lost in the news about today’s jobs numbers is politics’ corrosive effect on future labor reports and our nation’s standing in the world. Actions and debates underway in America today are erecting walls to long-term prosperity for millions of manufacturers. It’s wrong that this administration’s policies have caused health care costs to skyrocket, while policymakers use red tape to regulate many manufacturers out of business.

It’s unfortunate that critical energy infrastructure projects, such as the Dakota Access pipeline, are threatened, resulting in less energy independence and slower job growth. And it’s a failure of leadership when those seeking to serve us in elected office attack the very reasons we’re great, such as global trade and our free enterprise system.

Manufacturers—and all Americans—are looking for more than what we see on the campaign trail and by this administration. As we pause to celebrate Labor Day and the achievements of workers that made this country exceptional, policymakers should be reminded that we won’t settle for mediocrity. Americans deserve and expect leaders to partner with us to compete and win every day.

Manufacturers Disappointed in Lack of Concrete Progress in U.S.–India Commercial Dialogue

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

The United States and India have much to gain by growing their commercial relationship given the relatively low levels of trade and investment that characterize a relationship that many agree is underperforming. This year’s second Strategic & Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) was an opportunity to move beyond the improved dialogue that has characterized the U.S.India relationship since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office more than two years ago and into concrete action.

Unfortunately, the just-released U.S.India Joint Statement marking the conclusion of this year’s dialogue has little to cheer. The NAM and others had urged the two governments to use dialogue to drive concrete deliverables. Yet, this dialogues “outcomes,” if they can be so labeled, are heavy on cooperation, collaboration and further discussions, but no concrete movement on issues that matter to a wide swath of manufacturers in the United States. There was, for instance, no renunciation by India of its WTO-violative actions, such as increased information technology tariffs and discriminatory localization measures on solar energy and other manufactured goods. There were no concrete deliverables announced on the protection of intellectual property and little substance on innovation. And while India has moved up on the Innovation Index, India still is in the bottom half of the rankings, behind its key Asian competitors.

As the United States prepares for its next major dialogue with Indiathe Trade Policy Forumin October, manufacturers urge outcomes that will make a tangible difference for their ability to do business with India.

Learn more about the NAM’s stance on U.S.India trade relations here.

 

Talking Is Good, but United States and India Should Be Moving Beyond Just Words by Now

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

Top U.S. officials are setting travel plans now for the second-annual Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD), set for the week of August 28 in New Delhi. This year’s S&CD will be a litmus test for these dialogues, demonstrating whether they can show real progress on concrete issues impacting manufacturers in the United States or just produce more talk. Read More

Canada in Crosshairs for Promise Utility Doctrine at Investor Dispute Hearing

By | Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, Shopfloor Legal, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Co-authored by Linda Dempsey, Vice President of International Economic Affairs

Canada’s attempts to defend a questionable intellectual property approach have taken a hit in recent weeks as government experts faced scrutiny from a team of neutral international arbitrators, based on the official hearing transcripts released on August 3. These hearings are vitally important for a wide range of innovative manufacturing companies using patents or investing internationally.

During two weeks of International Court of Settlement for Investment Disputes (ICSID) hearings in late May and early June, Canadian officials and experts faced crossfire for attempts to defend Canada’s “promise utility doctrine.” This rule, which constitutes a “revolution” in Canadian patent law, was invented by their courts and rests on the concept that patents that do not fulfill their “promise”as arbitrarily construed by the courts often years after the patent was filedcan be ruled invalid, even if they meet all of the internationally accepted criteria for patentability. Canadian courts began freely applying the rule in 2005 and have since revoked 25 patents that were invented to help millions of people suffering from cancer, osteoporosis, diabetic nerve pain and other serious conditions. Read More