As World Trade Month Begins, Could We Agree to Start on the Same Page?

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

Trade and manufacturing continues to be bandied about in interviews with presidential and other candidates, achieving a level of national attention that it deserves given the importance of trade to manufacturing. Unfortunately, most of the conversations are totally removed from the reality of manufacturing in America today and both the challenges and opportunities it provides to businesses, small and large, and the American workforce.

As we begin World Trade Month, lets all start on the same page:

Manufacturing Output Is at Record Levels.
In the most recent data, manufacturers contributed $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy. This figure has risen since the second quarter of 2009, when manufacturers contributed $1.70 trillion.

 Trade Growth Has Quadrupled Over the Past Quarter Century, as Has Manufacturing Output (See Chart Below).
mfgtrade blog

Free Trade Agreements, Such as NAFTA and Those with 18 Other Countries, Have Been Vital to Grow Manufacturing in America

Manufacturers in America sell 12 times more to our 20 free trade agreement (FTA) partners than to the rest of the world, even though they represent only 6 percent of the world’s consumers. The United States has a trade surplus overall with its FTA partners if that’s how you want to judge the relationship.

Exports FTA
MFG Trade Balance


Manufacturing in America Will Lose to Foreign Competitors if the United States Does Not Move Forward Aggressively with New Trade Agreements, Such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Agreement.

Other countries are more aggressively negotiating trade agreements that exclude and hurt the United States, meaning U.S. exporters face higher tariffs than most other countries in the world:

Tariffs Faced By Ranking Countries

A robust U.S. trade policy to grow manufacturing in America must open foreign markets, ensure strong trade enforcement and improve U.S. manufacturing competitiveness in the face of substantial global competition. Click here to learn more.

Hannover Messe: Manufacturers from the United States on the World Stage

By | General, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

This week, I had the privilege of attending Hannover Messe, the world’s largest trade show for industrial technology. This was my third year traveling to Germany for the event, along with a delegation of several NAM members, and this year was certainly special as the United States was the official partner country.

With more than 5,000 exhibitors, Hannover is an impressive demonstration of the power and ingenuity of manufacturers worldwide. This year was our chance to take center stage and show the world the innovation revolution that manufacturers are leading in America—and to create opportunities to reach the 95 percent of customers who live outside the United States, which is critical in today’s global economy.

The NAM was proud to be a sponsor and partner with the U.S. Department of Commerce to ensure that manufacturers in the United States had an impressive showing and that manufacturing was a central focus for the many members of the administration, including the president, who attended.

Select USA opening ceremonies

Getting ready to begin: the NAM was proud to sponsor the United States as partner country at the 2016 Hannover Messe.


The show officially kicked off at the Sunday afternoon opening ceremonies. President Barack Obama became the first president to attend the event, and he joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel to welcome the world to the 69th Hannover Messe. The two world leaders not only shared a stage for their remarks; they also shared a united cause—to strengthen manufacturing.

President Obama talks with Chancellor Merkel and business leaders. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with Chancellor Merkel and business leaders. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Following the opening ceremonies, I joined President Obama and Chancellor Merkel at the Schloss Herrenhausen for an engaging discussion with global business leaders centered on promoting robust economic growth and a joint commitment to expanding trade opportunities.

With President Obama and members of his administration on the ground for the trade show, the trip was also a chance to advance many of manufacturers’ top priorities. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is one of the strongest advocates for manufacturers in America, and I am proud that we were able to work so closely with her and her great team.


At the top of the list of priorities for this trip was the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would join the United States and the European Union (EU) in the largest economic and trade partnership. We were able to discuss TTIP multiple times with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Mike Froman and Deputy USTR Michael Punke and brought our delegation to meet with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, emphasizing the importance of strong and ambitious outcomes, including a strong shared standard, to benefit manufacturers of all sizes on both sides of the Atlantic. (Read more from NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey here.)


Banner just outside of Hannover fair grounds.

A common theme during our conversations with everyone in Hannover, including U.S., German and EU policymakers, manufacturers large and small and our European business advocacy partners, was how best we can win the “war on trade.” In the face of increasing populist rhetoric on the campaign trail in the United States and a vocal protest wave in Europe, we need to work closely together to explain what TTIP is and how it will create new opportunities for manufacturers, improve growth in our communities and benefit our families. Manufacturers must tell our story of the transformative impact that the agreement will have in new ways to cut through the myths propagated by many NGO and activist groups.

Trade is essential to manufacturers’ success, as it allows us to reach the customers living outside our borders—the very customers exploring the modern technology and impressive products on display at Hannover.


Monday was a packed day, touring the facilities, exploring the exhibits, talking with U.S. and European officials and meeting with U.S. manufacturers and friends who had also crossed the Atlantic for the event.

Any visitor would come away with a clear sense that modern manufacturing is vastly different from our past. It’s sleek, high-tech and changing at a rapid pace. Even in just three years, I’ve witnessed dramatic advances in the technology on display at Hannover.

I joined U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews for a live Facebook chat about what we had witnessed, the importance of trade and the promise of modern manufacturing and the Internet of Things.

Talking trade, investment and advanced manufacturing with Dep. Commerce Secretary Andrews.

Talking trade, investment and advanced manufacturing with Secretary Andrews.

At a business summit on the fairgrounds, President Obama and Chancellor Merkel were joined by U.S. and German CEOs and officials, including Secretary Pritzker, to discuss the future of transatlantic economic relations. Unsurprisingly, this was a recurring theme throughout the trip—and for good reason!


Tuesday morning, I was grateful for the chance to talk with Siemens employees and customers at their exhibit. Siemens has been a fantastic partner in preparing for Hannover Messe, and it was great to see many of their innovative solutions on display.

As I said in my remarks, “When you look around this impressive venue, there’s no doubt the world is changing—and changing for the better. Manufacturers are leading the way and driving this change every day. But there’s something that doesn’t change. Manufacturers are still improving our world, offering hope and opportunity through the people we employ, the lives we touch and the products we make.”



Speaking to Siemens employees and stakeholders at their exhibit about the future of manufacturing.

Before departing, I led a roundtable discussion with Secretary Pritzker on how we win the battle on trade. We were joined by NAM member companies—Liberty Pumps, UL, UPS and Texas Instruments—as well as leading European advocacy groups and German officials. Expanding opportunities to sell our products overseas means winning the battle for jobs in the United States!

U.S. Commerce Secretary Pritzker engages the NAM delegation about how to advance manufacturers' top priorities in the U.S.

Secretary Pritzker (center) engages the NAM delegation about how to advance manufacturers’ top priorities in the United States.


As always, I left Hannover energized and proud of our industry. There’s always work to do, and we must continue to take our message to our elected officials so that the right policies are in place for our success. But there should be no doubt: manufacturers continue to lead the world by creating solutions and building the future.



Allergan Brings Manufacturing Jobs to Texas, Demonstrates Importance of Pro-Investment Business Environment

By | Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Earlier this week, Texas manufacturing received a boost as the global pharmaceutical manufacturer Allergan broke ground on a $200 million facility expansion in Waco.

The construction phase alone will add $380 million in total economic impact through 2020. And once production begins, the facility will add more than $460 million to the central Texas economy every year. Read More

NAM-PAC Events Have Raised More Than $1 Million

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Since the inception of the National Association of Manufacturers Political Action Committee (NAM-PAC) in January 2013, we are proud to report that PAC events have raised more than $1 million to support members of Congress and candidates who have established themselves as proven champions in supporting a pro-manufacturing agenda. Thus far, the NAM-PAC has held 62 events for members and candidates on both sides of the aisle, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI-1), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD-5), Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Coons (D-DE) and Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and Ron Kind (D-WI-3) just to name a few.

We are very proud of reaching this tremendous milestone and extremely grateful to NAM member company political action committees that have joined us in supporting these campaigns.

Proudly, the PAC has a strong history of supporting incumbent manufacturing champions facing difficult primary and general election campaigns as well as challengers who have committed to pursuing an NAM-friendly agenda once elected to Congress. The NAM-PAC is committed to supporting candidates who stand firm on their promises to create a policy environment in the United States that encourages growth and innovation.

For the remaining six months of this critical 2016 election cycle, the NAM-PAC will look to build upon our already successful efforts to assist campaigns of members of Congress who consistently support the manufacturing industry. To create high-paying manufacturing jobs and grow our economy, it is imperative that manufacturers stand together to elect candidates who are willing to fight for manufacturing interests in Congress.

If you have questions about the NAM-PAC or our events, contact Erik Rosedahl at or (202) 637-3054.

Solution-Less Protesters Contrast with Makers, Doers and Dreamers at Hannover Messe

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Hannover Messe 2016 Opening Ceremonies. Photo by Keith Smith/NAM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (third from left) and U.S. President Barack Obama (middle) participate in the Hannover Messe 2016 opening ceremonies. Photo by Keith Smith/NAM

Last night, the largest trade show for industrial technology, Hannover Messe, celebrated its 69th year with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama opening the ceremonies. President Obama was given the honors as the United States was chosen as Hannover Messe’s partner country for 2016. This morning, the official trade show ground opened to hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to visit over the next five days as U.S. manufacturing technology is on the world stage and featured at this year’s event. The innovation and excitement in the more than 18 massive buildings housing the trade show are palpable as manufacturers from the United States, Germany and the world come together to share their latest technological advances and workmanship and look to buy and sell equipment that will advance the quality and productivity of manufacturing around the world, while also sustaining and creating high-paying jobs and economic growth.

Outside the trade show doors, a very different and much smaller gathering occurred on Saturday. Trade protestors gathered to criticize the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks that seek to join the United States and European Union in the largest economic and trade partnership. I found the protesters and signs quite revealing, as they railed not only against the TTIP but also a host of other issues, including basic capitalism. As I listened to the chants and discussions, it seemed that the TTIP was nothing more than a rallying cry that subsumes broad rhetorical messages intending to sweep in those with much broader anger and angst about a wide range of issues, whether or not stopping the TTIP will make those issues better or worse. And beyond stopping the TTIP, solutions were nonexistent.

The contrast between the makers, doers and dreamers inside the Hannover fairgrounds and outside is a stark one. Just being at Hannover Messe demonstrates what manufacturers throughout the United States know, but most TTIP and other trade protesters would simply ignore: we live in a global economy and the question is not how to stop competition, but how to succeed globally and promote economic growth and opportunity. Manufacturers big and small throughout the United States and the more than 12 million men and women in their workforce are innovating every day and making products that the world wants and needs. To sustain and grow the U.S. manufacturing economy and jobs, we need more agreements to eliminate barriers and raise standards. That is exactly the ambition of TTIP negotiators who simultaneously began the 13th round of talks today in New York City.

Besides saying “no” for reasons that are not necessarily even related to a trade agreement, protesters aren’t the ones creating and sustaining jobs, innovating or creating the next lifesaving technology. It is far past time for those that participate in the manufacturing economy and create solutions every day talk more and more loudly on what trade and trade agreements mean to our growth.

2016 STEP Ahead Honorees Are Here

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They’re coming! The 2016 STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Honorees and Emerging Leaders will officially be welcomed to Washington, D.C., tonight to kick-off this year’s award program.

Did you know that while women represent nearly half (47 percent) of today’s workforce, they comprise less than one-third (27 percent) of the manufacturing workforce? However, while manufacturing faces a serious skills gap, this year’s 2016 STEP Ahead Honorees and Emerging Leaders are working to advocate, mentor, engage, promote and lead the next generation of manufacturing women. This year’s Honorees are making a difference in their communities and for the future of manufacturing. Read More

Senate FAA Vote Signals Proactive Movement for Manufacturing Certainty

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Modern, updated and well-funded infrastructure is critical to manufacturing success in the United States, and tonight the Senate took a proactive step on the Federal Aviation Act Reauthorization. In a bipartisan 95-3 vote, Senate leaders signaled to manufacturers that they are serious about addressing critical infrastructure needs. Manufacturers’ competitiveness hinges on their ability to access infrastructure, and uncertainty caused by the constant cycle of short-term reauthorizations on key issues like the FAA, our national highways system and our inland waterways disadvantage our jobs creators. The NAM key-voted the legislation.

“The NAM supports transportation policies that invest in infrastructure and related systems to ensure U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. Manufacturers rely on the nation’s air transportation system to help support business competitiveness, efficiency and growth. Stable and reliable funding is critical to ensure continued investment in airports, runways and the health of the entire aviation system,” said NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse in the letter.

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Shopfloor Event Highlights Why Trade Is Important for U.S. Manufacturing

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Trade continues to be a top-line talker in presidential debates—drawing various (and often unfounded) soundbite criticisms from candidates on both ends of the political spectrum. Manufacturers in the United States, however, face a much more practical reality. Trade is not a choice or an interview question; it is part of the fabric of business everywhere. Whether a manufacturer is selling across town or across the world, manufacturers in the United States are part of the global economy. The question manufacturers seek to ask is the practical one: How can I compete to win?

On Friday, manufacturers big and small who produce a wide assortment of products right here in the United States convened for a Shopfloor panel event in the U.S. Capitol to continue the NAM’s focus of Trade Beyond the Soundbites. Joining me for the event were the following:

  • Daniel R. Dwight, president & CEO, Cooley/Group
  • Roy Paulson, president, Paulson Manufacturing Corporation
  • Ann-Marie Padgett, international advocacy supervisor, Caterpillar Inc.
  • Amy DeArmond, government policy & legal affairs specialist, Leggett & Platt, Inc.

Also participating in the discussion were Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA), chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade, House Ways and Means Committee, and Ron Kind (D-WI), House Ways and Means Committee.

Trade Shopfloor Manufacturing Panel Participants: •Daniel R. Dwight, President & CEO, Cooley/Group •Roy Paulson, President, Paulson Manufacturing Corporation •Ann-Marie Padgett, International Advocacy Supervisor, Caterpillar Inc. •Amy DeArmond, Government Policy & Legal Affairs Specialist, Leggett & Platt, Inc. •Linda Dempsey, Vice President, International Economic Affairs, NAM (moderator) They were joined by Representative Dave Reichert, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade, House Ways and Means Committee and Representative Ron Kind, House Ways and Means Committee, who spoke on the impotance of trade to the US economy.. The discussion took place at the US Capitol on April 15, 2016. The global economy presents opportunities and challenges to manufacturers big and small across the United States. While America continues to be a large and important market for manufacturers, 95 percent of the world’s population and more than 70 percent of purchasing power are found overseas. America’s manufacturers face tough competition from manufacturers around the world and trade barriers and unfair trade practices that limit opportunities and undermine U.S. competitiveness, including in the Asia-Pacific region and in the European Union. Please join the NAM for a Shopfloor discussion on the importance of trade for manufacturers, including how strong trade agreements such as our free trade agreements with 20 countries, are helping to strengthen America’s manufacturing competitiveness in overseas markets, reduce existing trade barriers and support and grow good-paying jobs in America.

Trade Shopfloor Manufacturing Panel Participants (from left): Amy DeArmond, government policy & legal affairs specialist, Leggett & Platt, Inc.; Roy Paulson, president, Paulson Manufacturing Corporation; Ann-Marie Padgett, international advocacy supervisor, Caterpillar Inc.; Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI); Linda Dempsey, vice president, international economic affairs, NAM (moderator); and Daniel R. Dwight, president & CEO, Cooley/Group. Not pictured: Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade, House Ways and Means Committee. Photo by: David Bohrer/NAM

For those who joined the discussion, it was an instructive one. The discussion centered on the impact of trade, trade agreements, export financing and other tools on the ability of the U.S. manufacturing sector and individual manufacturers to grow their business and sustain and produce good-paying American jobs. With most of the world’s population outside our borders, it was no surprise to many of us that for many manufacturers, increased trade growth means more relationships, more business, more products, more innovation and more and better-paying jobs. Read More

NAM Tax Team Launches Podcast Series

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Move over Ira Glassthe NAM’s Tax Team has launched its new Shopfloor Podcast series dedicated to all things tax reform. Extremely high corporate tax rates and out-of-date international rules paired with a challenging global economic climate and charged political year are fueling a tax-heavy conversation the NAM continues to be a part of.

In the initial episode (just in time for Tax Day), NAM Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Dorothy Coleman, Senior Director of Tax Policy Carolyn Lee and Chief Economist Chad Moutray set the stage on the current state of play on tax reform, drilling down on why exactly tax reform is so important to manufacturers.

Future episodes will offer guest voices and fresh angles on what needs to be done to reform our tax code and how manufacturers can continue to lead the charge for comprehensive substantive tax reform.

Learn more about the NAM’s tax reform priorities here.

Manufacturers “Most Admired” in New FORTUNE Magazine List

By | Communications, Shopfloor Main | One Comment

This year’s FORTUNE magazine list of Most Admired Companies has been released, and manufacturers made an impressive showing. It’s certainly an honor to see so many NAM members heralded. It’s also a testament to the strength of our industry and our standing as the world’s leading innovators and the heavy lifters in the U.S. economy.

Manufacturers are a creative force, embodying the process that turns a mere idea into a physical reality. We are responsible for more private research and development and earn more patents than any other sector. We envision and then we build the things people use to increase their productivity on the job and the things they enjoy when the workday is over. We help people around the globe travel, connect, learn and communicate. We produce life-giving foods, life-enhancing products and lifesaving medicines.  And we power our operations as well as the world’s homes, vehicles, farms, businesses and electronics more efficiently and sustainably than ever before.

No wonder that when Americans are asked what companies affect, benefit and even transform their families’ lives, they name manufacturer after manufacturer after manufacturer.

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