TPP Will Make Manufacturers Stronger — in Texas and Across the Nation

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To grow and thrive in today’s economy, manufacturers in Texas are increasingly looking overseas to boost sales opportunities to sustain and grow their U.S. activities. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is important to that growth strategy because it will strengthen manufacturers in the United States and level the playing field with 11 Asia-Pacific countries that boast over 490 million consumers. Read More

Time for Chinese Leadership to Advance Global Environmental Goods Pact

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On the eve of this weekend’s G20 trade ministers meeting in Shanghai, China, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) joined more than 40 global associations in a letter urging China to demonstrate leadership that results in the conclusion of a commercially meaningful international agreement that would eliminate tariffs on a wide range of environmental goods and technologies. As this year’s host of the G20, China has a golden opportunity to lead the successful conclusion this year of the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), an agreement being negotiated under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization and a high priority for the global business community.

An ambitious EGA would eliminate tariffs on a wide range of environmental goods and technologies, an industry that accounts for nearly $1 trillion in annual global trade. Such an agreement would promote economic growth, improve environmental outcomes and advance innovation not only in China, but also in the United States.

The EGA would boost manufacturing and support our broad environmental goals as a country, supporting jobs and growth throughout the supply chain. It would also be an important catalyst to increased development of and trade and innovation in new environmental technologies around the world. It will improve the environment, from providing cleaner water to reducing pollution. At the same time, it will support the growth of the manufacturing industries that produce and utilize these technologies. In the United States, such technologies are manufactured throughout the country, providing good-paying jobs.

A rock-solid commitment this weekend by trade ministers from China, the United States and other G20 economies participating in the G20 discussions in Shanghai – Australia, Canada, European Union countries (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom), Japan, South Korea and Turkey – would provide key momentum as EGA talks intensify in the run up to September’s G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China.

U.S. Trade Deficit Widened in May

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The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau said that the U.S. trade deficit rose from $37.39 billion in April to $41.14 billion in May, its highest level since February. The data have been quite volatile through the first five months of 2016, averaging $40.08 billion. That was lower than the $41.70 billion average for 2015 as a whole. The higher figure in May’s report stemmed from an increase in goods imports (up from $178.62 billion to $182.06 billion) which coincided with a slight decline in goods exports (down from $120.04 billion to $119.82 billion).

Even with the pickup, it is worth noting that goods exports and imports have each decreased over the course of the past year, down from $127.61 billion and $189.95 billion in May 2015, respectively. That suggests that trade volumes have fallen overall; although, part of that reduction could be lower petroleum prices. Indeed, the May petroleum deficit of $2.89 billion was the lowest since February 1999. Read More

ITC Review Confirms Trade Agreements Benefit America, but Ignores Major Manufacturing Issues

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The National Association of Manufacturers has been providing a lot of #TruthontheTrail this election season. It’s time for some more truth to weigh new government information.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) just released a congressionally mandated report on the impact of U.S. trade agreements on the U.S. economy. Contrary to statements by some presidential and other candidates, it finds that:

  • Bilateral and regional trade agreements negotiated by the United States have increased GDP, employment, wages, trade and exports; and
  • Such U.S. bilateral and regional trade agreements have “had a positive effect, on average, on U.S. bilateral merchandise trade balances with the partner countries, increasing trade surpluses.”

But like its past reports, the ITC misses the mark in many major ways, underreporting the impact of trade agreements on manufacturers in the United States:

  • U.S. Manufacturing Has Doubled Since NAFTA. Most prominently, the ITC report ignores the massive growth in U.S. manufacturing output. Since NAFTA, both U.S. manufacturing output and U.S.-manufactured goods exports have doubled. Indeed, manufacturers in the United States are producing more than ever before. The recognition of the growth of manufacturing overall is important, particularly when a large portion of that output is exported to trade agreement partners. Indeed, U.S. free trade agreement partners purchase 13 times more from the United States than the rest of the world and have been an important source of U.S. manufacturing growth.

Manufacturing Output and Exports 93-05

  • Non-Tariff Benefits of Trade Agreements Have Broad Impacts. The ITC’s economic analysis simply cannot and does not capture the vast importance of trade agreements to the U.S. manufacturing economy. When discussing non-tariff issues, such as intellectual property (IP) protections in U.S. trade agreements, for example, the ITC notes the increase in IP receipts. It fails to include, however, any discussion of the importance of these provisions to supporting high-paying manufacturing jobs. There are similarly limited analyses of other provisions, such as investment rules that help many manufacturers reach foreign consumers while supporting good-paying American jobs.
  • The World Is Moving Forward Without Us. The ITC’s analysis is also U.S. focused, ignoring the growth in world trade, hundreds of millions of new entrants into the global middle class and foreign trade agreements that exclude and disadvantage the United States. While the United States has 14 trade agreements with 20 countries in operation, the World Trade Organization reports that there are now more than 270 bilateral and regional agreements that provide improved access and better rules for those countries that are participating. The vast majority of these agreements exclude the United States and disadvantage manufacturers in the United States.

Manufacturers in the United States now produce more than ever before and support more than 18 million American jobs. As the most productive manufacturing sector globally, manufacturers in the United States need new foreign markets to sustain, let alone grow, current employment levels. Trade agreements, along with competitiveness and trade enforcement tools, are critical to improved U.S. access to foreign markets and the continued growth of manufacturing in the United States.

From Westminster Abbey to Your Shopfloor—An Explanation of “Brexit”

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Yesterday’s vote by 52 percent of the United Kingdom to exit from the European Union—the so-called British exit (Brexit)—has sent shockwaves across global financial markets and plunged manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic into a long period of uncertainty. While there are no direct immediate consequences for the day-to-day operations of businesses in the United Kingdom, European Union or the United States, all businesses engaged in the transatlantic market need to start preparing for the changes that will in fact come. Read More

NAM, Business Community in Geneva Pushing for “No-Brainer” Environmental Goods Agreement

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As negotiators meet this week in Geneva for the 14th Round of Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and business representatives from the Coalition for Green Trade are also in attendance urging all sides to make progress on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Ministers’ commitment to conclude a strong agreement that eliminates tariffs on a wide range of environmental goods and technologies by the September G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, China. Read More

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Amendments to Promote Engagement with Cuba

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

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved four amendments related to Cuba during today’s mark-up of the FY2017 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Act, including the following:

  • An amendment to lift the ban on private-sector agriculture export financing and to end the “180 day rule” for vessels that stop at a Cuban port, offered by FSGG Subcommittee Chairman John Boozman (R-AR) and Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL); approved by a vote of 22-8
  • An amendment to lift the travel ban, offered by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Durbin; approved by voice vote
  • An amendment to allow U.S. companies to export consumer communications devices and telecommunications services to Cuba, offered by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM); approved by voice vote
  • An amendment to allow flights bound for Cuba to make technical stops at American airports, offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME); approved by voice vote

The NAM sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee this week in support of the amendments. Read More

Colombia Takes Another Step Away from Innovation and a Pro-Manufacturing Climate

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Yesterday, Colombia took another disturbing step that again calls into question its commitment to innovation, manufacturing and the type of investment climate that is vital to grow its economy. Despite its own price controls and existing robust competition in its market, Colombia indicated it would be issuing a Declaration of Public Interest (DPI) to lower again the price of Glivec, an innovative pharmaceutical product. There was no need for this action given that the product is already available at a significantly reduced price, and there are already non-infringing generic versions available in the Colombian market. Read More

Timmons: May Jobs Numbers “Pathetic”

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Timmons Statement on Jobs Numbers

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on the disappointing Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobs report, which showed the slowest monthly jobs gain since September 2010:

“The latest jobs report is pathetic. It is a vivid example of why we need the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) now. The report is a wakeup call for anyone who thinks we are on solid economic ground. Policymakers in Washington can’t fix every problem, but they can certainly take action to give manufacturing—and the larger economy—a boost. The TPP will allow manufacturers to sell products we make here in the United States to millions of new customers overseas, and we will hire people to make those products. Congress and the Obama administration need to work together to get this deal done.

“Manufacturers, and almost all employers for that matter, are holding back on hiring because they lack confidence in the ability of Congress and the administration to put aside partisan differences to do what is in the best interest of America’s future. In May, we also saw too few Americans go back to work—and too many give up and leave the workforce altogether because they have given up on the American Dream.

“Pro-growth trade policy, coupled with comprehensive tax reform, regulatory reform and other items on manufacturers’ agenda will empower our country to compete and win in the global economy—creating jobs and providing inspiration for those who clearly need it.

“The presidential candidates and all candidates for the House and Senate need to explain exactly what they will do to enact these commonsense economic measures outlined in ‘Competing to Win.’ Getting this agenda accomplished is the only way to reverse the malaise we are experiencing in our country and put us on the road to success again.”

Read the original press release here.