Business Roundtable Archives - Shopfloor

Manufacturers, Business Community Question Discretionary Action by Administration on Ozone Standards

By | America's Business, Economy, Energy, Regulations | No Comments

Today, Aric Newhouse, senior vice president for policy and government relations at the NAM, joined several industry leaders to discuss with the media the negative impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed ozone standards on jobs and economic growth.

Newhouse participated along with Governor John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable (BRT); Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API); Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC); and Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Aric Newhouse and industry representatives discuss the EPA Ozone Standards

Aric Newhouse and industry representatives discuss the EPA Ozone Standards

Newhouse explained that manufacturers in the U.S. start each day at an 18 percent disadvantage (excluding labor costs) compared to their competitors outside the U.S. Increasing the cost of manufacturing in the U.S. to comply with burdensome and costly regulations is unacceptable and will only continue to diminish our global competitiveness. Manufacturers are looking for a common-sense, balanced approach to regulatory policy. Unfortunately, these proposed ozone standards do not present such an approach.

He urged the EPA to hold off on current action until the next statutory review is required in 18 months, allowing for an appropriate review with new data and scientific studies on ozone regulations. By moving forward now, the Administration is using stale data gathered prior to 2008 to formulate these proposed ozone standards, ignoring the real-life effects their actions will have on a wide range of industry sectors.

The cost of nonattainment will make it difficult for manufacturers to grow and lead the economic recovery because these new ozone standards are excessive and unrealistic. These standards will affect a broad spectrum of industries and will freeze the economy, preventing future investment, expanded operations and job creation. The President must put the brakes on the EPA and use his authority to stop the Agency from continuing to impose new, irrational ozone regulations.

Additionally, last Friday, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, along with several other trade association representatives, met with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to discuss these proposed new ozone standards. Timmons conveyed the business community’s concern with the new proposal and told the Administrator that these standards would stifle economic growth and job creation.

Circumnetting the Mixed Manufacturing Picture, Including Measured Optimism

By | Economy, General, Health Care, Trade | One Comment

MarketWatch, “Chicago manufacturing gauge leaps in December“: “WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A barometer of manufacturing conditions in the Chicago region jumped in December to its best level in more than 22 years. The Chicago PMI rose to 68.6 in December from 62.5 in November, marking the 15th straight month that the gauge was over the 50 level indicating economic expansion and well above the 61 reading that economists polled by MarketWatch expected for December.”

Manufacturers’ News, Inc., news release, “Manufacturers’ News Releases National Report on Manufacturing“: “EVANSTON, Ill., Dec. 29, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Manufacturers’ News, Inc., publisher of industrial directories for all fifty states, has compiled a national analysis of U.S. manufacturing based on the company’s state-by-state reports released in calendar year 2010. According to Manufacturers’ News, industrial employment in the United States declined 3.3% and the number of U.S. manufacturers fell 4.1% when comparing the data collected by the most recent editions of MNI’s directories to each state’s previous edition. The full analysis can be seen here. ”

See also Crain’s Detroit Business, “Michigan industrial employment numbers drop despite improved demand.” Also, Houston Business Journal, “Houston ranks as No. 1 manufacturing city in U.S.” and Puget Sound Business Journal, “Seattle moves up 12 spots on manufacturing list.”

Phoenix Business Journal, “Small manufacturers have positive outlook“: “What do medical devices, clothing and high-tech netting that can stop grenades have in common? They all are manufactured in Arizona, and their makers are finding success through the creation and development of niche products.”

Pittsburg Post-Gazette, “Things are looking up: Manufacturers remain optimistic as the economy begins to recover,” using as a news peg an interview with Frontier Steel president John Matig, whose company has withstood some tough times. “Half of the senior manufacturing executives surveyed by Grant Thornton said the U.S. economy would improve over the next six months, and 81 percent were very or somewhat optimistic about their prospects. ‘The manufacturing recovery is widespread and progressing at a moderate rate,’ said Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI.”

New Brunswick Business Journal (Canada), “Recovery depends on manufacturing, exports“: “A sustained economic recovery for Canada depends largely on a strong, continued rebound of the country’s manufacturing production and strong international export markets, according to the latest outlook from the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. ‘We’ve had a pretty strong economic rebound over the last year, but that was pretty much on borrowed money,’ said Jayson Myers, the CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, in reference to high consumer and government debt loads.”

The Daily Caller, “Business Roundtable to scrutinize Obamacare for problems, new president says“: “The incoming president of The Business Roundtable, which was once President Obama’s strongest ally in the private sector, said Monday that much of the group’s work on health care over the next two years will be looking for how Obama’s health care overhaul might ‘threaten’ the ability of employers to continue providing insurance. ‘The health care reform bill that passed, there’s mounting evidence that it doesn’t deal with the cost of health care,’ said John Engler, who will take the reins of the 170-member BRT in mid-January…”

Congrats, Boss! NAM’s John Engler Moves to Business Roundtable

By | Miscellaneous | One Comment

From The Business Roundtable, “Business Roundtable Names John Engler President“:

Washington – Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, today announced that it has named former Gov. John Engler as its President, effective January 15, 2011.  

Engler currently is President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest manufacturing association in the U.S. A former three-term governor of Michigan, Engler has been NAM president since October 1, 2004.  

As NAM president, Engler has been a leading advocate for the nearly 12 million Americans employed directly in manufacturing, educating the public and policymakers on issues that affect this critical sector of the U.S. economy. Under Engler, the NAM has had unprecedented growth and has boosted its dues revenues by 28 percent.  

“As a Governor, John forged progressive public policy. As the NAM’s President, he has been an effective, articulate spokesman for manufacturing. He has championed U.S. competitiveness around the world – often working arm-in-arm with Business Roundtable – and has tirelessly advocated policies that create jobs in the U.S. Respected in Washington on both sides of the aisle, John has spurred NAM to grow in both size and influence, even as its members faced difficult economic times. His leadership skills, policy expertise and broad background in both the public and private sectors uniquely qualify him to be BRT’s new president. We’re thrilled that John is joining BRT at this important moment for American businesses,” said Ivan G. Seidenberg, Chairman of Business Roundtable and Chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications.   Read More

Circumnetting a Departing Congress, the Economy and Taxes

By | Economy, Taxation | No Comments

Politico, “Biz leaders gloomy on economy

A wide swath of U.S. businesses Tuesday reported that the economy has slowed significantly in the last few months, and they said that the tax stalemate in Washington was a major reason that flagging consumer sentiment is now endangering the recovery.

In separate reports, big business members of the Business Roundtable, along with manufacturers, home builders and the oil industry gave gloomy assessments of the recovery and said Congress’ decision to postpone action on tax cuts until after the election was weighing heavily on consumer sentiment.

The first reference is to the Business Roundtable’s latest CEO survey, which reports: “The CEOs of America’s leading companies plan increased capital spending over the next six months, but have lower sales and employment expectations, according to the results of Business Roundtable’s third quarter 2010 CEO Economic Outlook Survey.”

The second paragraph refers to a briefing hosted by the American Petroleum Institute that featured Dave Huether, the National Association of Manufacturers’ chief economist. For more, see The Energy Tomorrow blog post, “Economists: Higher Taxes Could Harm Economic Recovery.”

The Oil and Gas Journal also reports on the briefing, “New taxes would harm fragile US economy, economists agree.” See also Market News International, “US Econs See Weak Outlook For Recovery; Consumer Confidence Key.”

The Hill, meanwhile, reports this shocking news, “Sanders slams Chamber, NAM in opposing outsourcing bill.” The NAM’s job is to represent its members and manufacturers, among whom there was vigorous opposition. See the “Key Vote” letter. It’s easy to rage about greed, easier than facing the realities of global competition.

President Again Urges Action on Free Trade Agreements

By | Trade | No Comments

President Obama on Wednesday spoke to the Business Roundtable, the trade association that represents the largest corporations in the United States (and with which the NAM shares many members). In his remarks, the President expressed support for the pending free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea.

Now, I know that trade policy has been one of those longstanding divides between business and labor, between Democrats and Republicans. To those who would reflexively support every and any trade deal, I would say that our competitors have to play fair and our agreements have to be enforced. We can’t simply cede more jobs or markets to unfair trade practices. At the same time, to those who would reflexively oppose every trade agreement, they need to know that if America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores. In other countries, whether China or Germany or Brazil, they’ve been able to align the interests of business, workers, and government around trade agreements that open up new markets for them and create new jobs for them. We must do the same. And I’m committed to making that happen.

That’s why we launched the Trans-Pacific Partnership to strengthen our trade relations with Asia, the fastest-growing market in the world. That’s why we will work to resolve outstanding issues so that we can move forward on trade agreements with key partners like South Korea and Panama and Colombia. And that’s why we will try to conclude a Doha trade agreement –- not just any agreement, but one that creates real access to key global markets.

Reuters reported on the speech and reaction, “Obama trade talk cheers business groups,” citing one of the NAM’s specialists in the area:

Doug Goudie, director of international trade policy with the National Association of Manufacturers, said he took seriously the Obama administration’s new focus on trade and much appreciated the goal of doubling exports.

“Moving forward on those three FTAS as soon as possible is going to be the best way to jumpstart the rest of their plan,” such as increasing the number of small- and medium-sized U.S. companies that export, he said.

The Business Roundtable issued a statement summarizing the meeting, with President John Castellani also highlighting trade issues:

We agreed with the President that the United States cannot sit on the sidelines while our competitors negotiate trade agreements that benefit their companies and workers over ours; we discussed the need for Congress to pass the pending free trade agreements as a first step toward the enhanced international trade and investment that is essential to growing the U.S. economy and creating more and better-paying jobs.

The next step for the President is to stop talking about “moving forward” on the FTAs and instead say, “Congress should now enact the pending Free Trade Agreements.”

While the U.S. Dawdles, Others Move on Trade Opportunities

By | Trade | No Comments

Journal of Commerce, “South Korea, India Sign Bilateral Trade Pact“:

In an effort to boost trade between two of Asia’s major emerging economies, South Korea and India signed a comprehensive free trade agreement Friday that will slash tariffs, encourage mutual foreign investment, and facilitate the exchange of professional workers between the two countries.

Financial Times, “Obama urged to ‘make the case’ for free trade“:

The US’s largest trade and business groups … call on Barack Obama to “make the case” for international trade agreements following what many believe has been months of dangerous drift in Washington.

“The United States cannot stand still in the international economic sphere,” the groups say in a joint letter to the president obtained by the Financial Times. “We need to revitalise our export and international trade leadership by moving forward on multilateral, regional and bilateral market-opening opportunities.”

US business leaders have expressed growing concern about the Obama administration’s reluctance to breathe life into the stalled Doha Round of world trade talks or to pick up on bilateral trade deals with Panama, Colombia and South Korea that were bequeathed by the Bush administration.

The August 5 letter came from Business Roundtable, Emergency Committee for American Trade,
National Association of Manufacturers, National Foreign Trade Council, United States Council for International Business, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A copy is posted at the Emergency Committee’s website here (.pdf).

Careful Consideration Needed of Health Care Legislation

By | Health Care | No Comments

References to the letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader McConnell by top business trade associations keep turning up in the media, so in the interest of transparency in advocacy, here it is. The date was July 9.

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell:

On behalf of key employer associations, we believe it is critical to provide you with input from the employer community that currently provides health insurance coverage for over 170 million Americans.

The business community has been supportive of reform, as health care costs have continued to rise much faster than the rate of inflation. However, we believe that the process for consideration of reform needs to give the Committees of jurisdiction the appropriate time and process to carefully consider the impact of this legislation.

We strongly urge you to encourage the Senate Finance Committee to continue its discussions on a bipartisan basis to reach consensus on how to improve our health care system and continue to identify ways to expand coverage, without dramatically affecting those who do have coverage. We believe that careful consideration of the issues that affect 17 percent of our economy need to be done within the Committees of jurisdiction. Read More

Terra Nova Obama, the Business Reaction

By | Economy | No Comments

Lots of straightforward stories today like this in the L.A. Times, “Democrats, interest groups compete to set Washington’s agenda.”

And this one, another angle or emphasis, from McClatchy, “Big business prepares for a less friendly Washington.” And its flip side, from The Hill, “With strengthened hand on the Hill, liberal lobbies dreaming of big gains.”

But for a more focused look at the business perspective, this is a good piece by David M. Dickson in The Washington Times, “Business offers to assist Obama in solving crisis,” with the sub-hed, “Credit crunch a key concern.”

A day after Democrats achieved an across-the-board electoral victory, business leaders pledged Wednesday to work with the new Obama administration and Congress, emphasizing the need to solve the credit crunch and get the economy growing again.

The Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce all extended congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama, while laying out the priorities of the nation’s private sector.

Business leaders emphasized the immediate need to address the credit crisis and to reinvigorate the economy, even though the new administration will not take office for 11 weeks.

“Credit issues are at the forefront,” said NAM President John Engler at a Washington briefing. “Manufacturers are severely impacted by the credit squeeze. Companies with solid balance sheets, good credit histories and order backlogs cannot obtain routine financing.”

Another story of interest from the Wash Times, too, “Obama’s plate already full,” with talk of the financial crisis.

John Engler, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Manufacturers, said the country’s struggling automakers are one sector that can’t wait until Mr. Obama is inaugurated Jan. 21. Without federal help soon, he said, No. 3 car maker Chrysler may not be around for the Obama administration.

“It’s a long time until January,” Mr. Engler said. “Part of the transition has to involve these issues.”