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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

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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

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.

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

Manufacturers Disappointed by Tale of Two Kaines

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It has been just over three weeks since Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) became Vice Presidential Candidate Kaine. And in that short amount of time, he has, to the disappointment of manufacturers, changed positions on two of our most important issues: energy and trade.

As a senator, manufacturers could often count on Sen. Kaine to be a reasonable voice on energy and environmental policy issues. On energy exports, he was in line with manufacturers, cosponsoring legislation in 2013 and 2015 to improve the permitting process for liquefied natural gas export terminals—projects that will drive billions of dollars in investments in manufacturing and other industrial sectors. On opening access to oil and gas resources off the Atlantic Coast, Sen. Kaine once again helped lead the charge, cosponsoring legislation in 2013 and again in 2015 directing the Department of Interior to include the Atlantic Coast in its energy lease sales.

Vice Presidential Candidate Kaine, on the other hand, is staking out a starkly different position on energy development. He opposes unlocking oil and gas resources off the Atlantic Coast. This abrupt shift on energy policy raises some red flags for manufacturers, consumers of one-third of the nation’s energy. An NAM study performed by IHS Economics forecasts that over the next decade, total demand for natural gas will increase by 40 percent, driven in large part by increased demand from manufacturers.

On the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), we are also seeing a tale of two Kaines. While nothing about the text of the TPP has changed since the 12-country trade deal was signed in February, Sen. Kaine’s position has appeared to shift significantly. In July, he made several positive statements on the TPP, noting that there “was much in it to like,” including upgraded labor, environmental and intellectual property standards. Less than a week later, however, Vice Presidential Candidate Kaine completely disavowed the TPP. Sen. Kaine’s original statements on the TPP, not his newfound opposition, are in line with the type of trade agenda that will grow U.S. manufacturing. The United States is losing in the global competition to open markets, as other countries have negotiated hundreds of trade agreements that exclude and disadvantage manufacturers in the United States. Manufacturers need trade agreements like the TPP to eliminate foreign trade barriers and upgrade foreign standards to level the playing field and boost U.S. competitiveness globally. Standing on the global sidelines just means the United States will fall further and further behind competitors, such as China, Mexico, Germany and others.

If manufacturers are going to continue driving economic growth over the next four years and beyond, we need access to all forms of energy and access to more markets overseas. So we need leaders whose policy positions are more like Sen. Kaine’s than Vice Presidential Candidate Kaine’s.

Timmons: Isolationist Rhetoric Won’t Create More Manufacturing Jobs, but the Right Policies Will

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

PullQuote-JayJobs-080520162

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July jobs numbers:  

“While numbers continue to improve, the fact is that our economy remains nowhere near its full potential. To grow jobs in America, manufacturers need their products sold to more markets. Isolationist rhetoric will not help grow manufacturing jobs in the United States, but the right policies will. Manufacturers have outlined an agenda that will help put our sector—and ultimately the entire U.S. economy—on a path toward continued growth and good-paying jobs, which includes market-opening free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

“Whether it’s because of misguided analysis or political expediency, both major party candidates in this presidential election continue to do manufacturing a disservice by perpetuating myths about free trade. It’s time to stop undermining the ability of manufacturers in the United States to compete and win through trade and embrace policies like TPP that are going to put our nation back in the driver’s seat and ensure success for our economy.”

Cheering Fair Play and Neutral Referees at the Olympics and in the TPP

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

More than 200 countries are sending their teams to Rio de Janeiro this week to compete in the Olympics, with hundreds of separate competitions, from cycling and swimming to archery and gymnastics.  We all want and expect a level playing field where no athlete or nation has an unfair advantage and where neutral referees, not national biases, determine who wins the gold.

To achieve fair play in the Olympics, there is a substantial rules-based structure at the international, individual sport and national level. The Olympic Charter is more than 100 pages, and there are thousands more pages of rules and requirements set forth by international sports federations and national teams.

Like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), most Americans have not read these thousands of pages, but understand that the basic rules reflect our common values and sense of fair play. So too does the TPP that sets for a detailed rules-based system that seeks to give industries in the United States a fair shot to win in foreign markets without discrimination or unfair advantages to our foreign competitors. Consider the basic principles that the TPP would implement: Read More

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

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

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 more than 490 million consumers. Read More