NMEI Archives - Shopfloor

Under Secretary Sanchez Talks Manufacturing, Exports at CMA Meeting

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Yesterday, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Francisco Sanchez spoke at the NAM’s Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA) winter meeting.

Under Secretary Sanchez reiterated calls that we are at the beginning of a “manufacturing renaissance” and talked about the number of quality jobs created in the industry over the course of the last two years. He highlighted a Department of Commerce report which said that in 2009 alone, manufacturing made up more than 11 percent of GDP.

In order to build off the successes of manufacturing, and to really enter into a manufacturing renaissance, we have released our own four-point plan to guide the process. A Manufacturing Renaissance: Four Goals for Economic Growth addresses both the areas where we are thriving and the areas that need more attention.

Among those issues are exports. The NAM has been a strong supporter of the president’s goal to double exports by 2015. Manufacturers play an imperative role in that effort and Under Secretary Sanchez says “the correlation between jobs, exports and manufacturing is clear.” We agree.

Under Secretary Sanchez also spoke about the New Market Exporter Initiative. This initiative helps U.S. businesses find new markets, opportunities for export training and new contacts with distributors and representatives to expand their business.

The topic of manufacturing has been at the forefront of the Republican presidential debates and recent remarks by President Obama. It is encouraging to see so much attention on the industry that has led our economic recovery and continues to do so.

“U.S. manufacturers are vital to our economy and future growth.  It’s work that I’ve always valued.  My father ran a candy factory.  He had to make payroll.  He had to monitor inventory.  He had to sell and market products.  From his experience, I know how a strong manufacturing sector benefits workers, communities and our nation.” – Under Secretary Sanchez

From the Commerce Department: Expertise and Exports

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Thank you to the media team at the Department of Commerce for shooting video of Monday’s news conference with Secretary Gary Locke, John Engler of the National Association of Manufacturers, Russ Fleming of FedEx and Suresh Kumar, director general of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service. (Commerce has its own YouTube channel, “Commerce News.”)

Monday’s event marked a new partnership among the parties under Commerce’s New Market Exporter Initiative, bringing Commerce’s market research and FedEx’s marketing and logistical expertise to bear for small manufacturers seeking to export more.

NAM President John Engler’s remarks are below:

More video from Secretary Locke, Fleming and Kumar.

The NAM’s program is NMEI, the New Market Export Initiative. More details here.

A Boost for Exports from Smaller Manufacturing Companies

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The week got off to a good start this morning, exportwise, at the Department of Commerce.  Secretary Gary Locke joined John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, and Russ Fleming, FedEx’s vice president for international marketing, to announce the NAM’s participation in the New Market Exporter Initiative.

The New Market Exporter Initiative (NMEI) is one of Commerce’s many tools for helping small- and medium-sized enterprises take advantage of exporting opportunities these companies may not be aware of, providing the market research and technical advice necessary to expand their reach abroad. As Secretary Locke explained (news release):

From left: FedEx's Russell Fleming, Secretary Gary Locke, John Engler

We know that American businesses produce world-class goods and services. What we can improve is connecting those businesses to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our borders. This partnership with the National Association of Manufacturers will do just that – helping to link manufacturers, especially small- and medium-sized firms, with new markets abroad.

Engler commented:

More than 90 percent of exporters are small and medium size manufacturers – and they account for about 30 percent of exports, roughly $300 billion.  Today, however, the overwhelming majority of these companies export to just one or two countries.  If we could just double the number of countries they ship to, we could make significant gains in U.S. exports.

Fleming spoke about FedEx’s ability to bring both logistical expertise and marketing strategies to bear for manufacturers.

The NAM has established a webpage with information about participating in the New Market Exporter Initiative. It’s www.nam.org/nmei.


Overcoming Obstacles that Hinder Exports for Smaller Companies

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The U.S. International Trade Commission recently issued a report that documented how critical it is to open markets to U.S. exporters, not just for the large multinational companies with an established global presence, but also to small- and medium-sized enterprises (which includes manufacturers and service-industry businesses). 

We highlighted some of the findings of “Small and Medium- Sized Enterprises: Characteristics and Performance” in this earlier post, emphasizing the substantial exports that small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) already make and the potential for even greater exports.

But there are obstacles to the SMMs, the ITC reports:

Trade Barriers That Disproportionately Affect SME Export Performance

  • Burdensome or discriminatory government regulations in many foreign markets disproportionately affect SMEs. U.S. SMEs may lack the staff, expertise, or financial resources to dedicate to foreign compliance.
  • SMEs are more likely than large firms to identify high tariffs as a substantial impediment to exporting. SMEs account for a high share of exports in apparel and certain processed food industries that face generally higher foreign applied tariffs.
  • Standards and certification are important non-tariff hurdles for SME manufactured goods exporters. In particular, licensing, residency requirements, and commercial presence requirements present challenges for SME services providers that export.
  • Manufacturing SMEs reported greater burdens relative to large firms in most areas, including “customs procedures,” “high tariffs,” and “preference for local goods in foreign market.”
  • For SME manufacturing exporters, the most frequently cited impediment to exporting was “obtaining financing,” “high tariffs,” or “transportation and shipping costs.” In contrast, large manufacturing firms identified either “foreign regulations,” or “preference for local goods or services in a foreign market” as their most frequently cited impediment.

The National Association of Manufacturers and Department of Commerce have long worked in a partnership to overcome those obstacles, with a Commerce commercial officer seconded to the NAM’s offices.

Next Monday, the NAM and Commerce will take that cooperation to higher level with an announcement about the NAM’s involvement with the New Market Exporter Initiative. Secretary Gary Locke and NAM President John Engler will speak, and FedEx will play a prominent role.

The goal? Realize the potential.  Export more U.S.-manufactured goods. And create jobs.