Today, Jay Timmons, President and CEO at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and Terry Scouler, CEO at EEF, the UK-based manufacturers’ organisation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that seeks to promote greater collaboration and partnerships between the two organizations, and to promote the NAM and EEF’s respective missions to strengthen and grow manufacturing in the United States and the UK. The agreement sets forth a number of activities, ranging from information exchanges on policy, economics, business trends and government regulations to potential joint work on international trade, skills development and other issues.
Remarks as prepared for delivery.
Well, good afternoon. Thank you, Scott [Schloegel] for the introduction.
And most importantly, thank you to everyone who’s here today. Your support for the Export-Import Bank is support for American workers and manufacturers in the United States.
U.S. manufacturers are strong advocates for the Ex-Im Bank because we see firsthand the difference it makes in people’s lives and livelihoods.
I’m proud to be here today not only to say “thank you,” but also to urge the administration and Congress to come together and move forward soon. Manufacturers want to see the agency fully operational again. There are jobs to create and business to win—and we don’t want to wait any longer.
So, let’s get to work.
Now, I’m honored to be joined today by a great manufacturing leader, Chuck Wetherington, president of BTE Technologies. He’s also the vice chair of our Small and Medium Manufacturers Group at the NAM.
We’re going to have a conversation, and Chuck, you’ll see, is a great champion of the Ex-Im Bank.
Let me just set the stage a little for that conversation.
As manufacturers, our message is straightforward: we need a fully operational export credit agency to level the playing field. We’re in a global economy, and 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders. Our competitor nations have robust export credit agencies, and they’re beating us as a result.
If you want to make manufacturing in the United States even greater, we can’t start from a competitive disadvantage.
And we must keep in mind that it’s small businesses that are losing while we’re in a holding pattern. Some small businesses, in fact, have big deals on hold right now because the Ex-Im Bank can’t process them. And small businesses stand to lose much more the longer we wait to act. Year after year, 90 percent of Ex-Im transactions directly support small businesses.
Moreover, the deals with larger companies that the agency can’t make right now…they would also support small companies that are the suppliers for those bigger brands. And I don’t want anyone to lose sight of that as well.
The Ex-Im Bank is a great success story. And at a time when manufacturing has captured the imagination of our leaders and the American people, I know our policymakers are eager to implement a strategy that will make our companies as competitive as possible in every market. I see the Ex-Im Bank as a vital component of that strategy.
Now, even with the Ex-Im Bank in the situation that it is, we have reason to be optimistic. In fact, our recent Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey revealed that manufacturers are feeling more positive about the future of their companies than at any time in the survey’s 20-year history.
So the state of manufacturing is strong. Our industry is diversifying, increasing output and bringing us transformative technologies.
We are charting new frontiers and supporting new jobs. But we could be doing so much more.
And for the first time in a long time, that’s achievable. In addition to making progress on the Ex-Im Bank, we could see bold action on tax reform, infrastructure investment and regulatory reform.
The landscape is tough. But I believe it can be done—and it must be done.
The last major overhaul of the U.S. tax code was in 1986. Think about it: in 1986, there wasn’t internet in every home, never mind in every pocket. Fax machines were the hot technology at six minutes per page to transmit. Forget 3-D printing; we barely had color printing. And there were 86 million fewer people in the country.
Manufacturers have innovated over the past 30 years, the country and economy have transformed, but the U.S. tax system, well, it hasn’t kept pace.
To spur job creation, business tax reform must have a few essential goals:
Reduce the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, which is what the president has proposed.
Small businesses and pass-throughs should see taxes reduced as well.
We want to shift to a modern territorial international tax system.
And we want to strengthen R&D incentives and see faster deductions for capital investments.
On the regulatory front, we’ve seen many positive developments in recent weeks. But we have a long way to go. A recent NAM study found that manufacturers are subject to 297,696 federal regulations. And the cost of regulatory compliance for small manufacturers is nearly $35,000 per employee per year.
Regulatory reform—making regulations smarter, simpler and streamlined—is one of the quickest ways to create jobs and give manufacturers the confidence to expand.
We know it’s possible to have safe workplaces and environmental stewardship at the same time our economy is experiencing robust growth. If we can work together, from the Department of Labor to the EPA, we can achieve those goals.
Now on the infrastructure front, I like to think the NAM got out ahead on this one. We saw over the summer that both candidates were hot on infrastructure investment. So we said we don’t want these good intentions to devolve into the disappointments of the 2009 stimulus bill.
We released an infrastructure plan of our own, called “Building to Win.” It certainly wasn’t exhaustive, but it did point out the big problems, the economic opportunities and even the price tag and pay-fors.
I’m proud to say that the Trump campaign cited our plan favorably when laying out their vision for infrastructure last fall. Administration officials have cited it publicly since taking office. And we hear public statements from leading Democrats—and Republicans—about the type of modernization we’re calling for. So I think we have a good foundation to build on.
You really can’t overstate the urgency of the need here. Our infrastructure is not what a 21st-century economic powerhouse needs. It’s crumbling, it’s outdated, and frankly, it’s dangerous.
Millions of jobs are at stake. Without immediate action on the infrastructure crisis, the United States will lose more than 2.5 million jobs by 2025 and more than 5.8 million by 2040.
If we invest now, we will put America on a stronger foothold, better able to compete in the global marketplace for at least the next generation.
Now, ultimately, this all comes back to the same theme: competitiveness. We must be competitive in the global economy.
Advances in technology and transportation over recent decades have created substantial new opportunities for manufacturers in the United States to reach millions of foreign consumers.
In fact, we have seen world trade in manufactured goods quadruple over the past quarter century. Trade has never been more important to manufacturers.
Manufacturers in the United States need robust trade policies and agreements that open markets, protect U.S. property and standards and ensure strong enforcement of core rules of fairness in the global economy. We’re working on NAFTA and other issues right now so that we can make sure that our trade agreements and trade rules work as effectively as possible to grow U.S. manufacturing and jobs.
I know in this room, I’m preaching to the choir. But for all of you who are working to make the case for the Ex-Im Bank or for any of these other policy priorities, know this: the NAM is on your side. We will not back down. We will continue to lead. And if you need resources, facts or real-world stories, we can work with you.
This is our time. Manufacturing animated the presidential race. Manufacturers propelled a change election. And the president of the United States has made manufacturing in the United States his signature issue. We intend to seize the moment.
So, thank you, and Chuck, let’s have a conversation.
Media Contact: Jennifer Drogus, (202) 637-3090
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Manufacturers thrive on technological change, integrating new and disruptive technologies in products and operations ranging from smart factories to autonomous vehicles, from Internet of Things platforms to biometrics. They know that innovation and emerging technologies play a critical role in promoting manufacturing growth and investment, allowing them to maintain their competitive edge in a challenging global marketplace and support high-paying jobs in the United States. Read More
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As a new Congress kicks off, and as the new administration takes the reins with stated priorities of boosting manufacturing in the United States, now is the right time to assess the state of the U.S.–India economic relationship. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) joined 21 other trade associations in a letter today to congressional leadership urging them to work to support a robust, reciprocal U.S.–India economic relationship that creates commercial opportunities in both countries and meaningfully addresses outstanding issues impacting manufacturers in the United States. Read More
Today more than 400 businesses and business organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging support for the confirmation of Wilbur Ross as secretary of commerce. Spearheaded by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the letter urges swift action on Mr. Ross’ confirmation.
“We believe that Wilbur Ross will bring a unique understanding of what it takes to fuel manufacturing enterprises to this vital role,” the letter reads. “Mr. Ross has a firsthand understanding of the challenges manufacturers face to remain globally competitive in today’s economy.”
Read the full letter here.
NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons also sent a letter yesterday on behalf of the NAM offering his support for Ross’ confirmation.
“Wilbur is a businessman with extensive experience in a wide range of industries who knows firsthand what policies it takes to promote competitiveness, investment, job creation and durable economic growth,” Timmons wrote. “In particular, Wilbur has extensive experience in the manufacturing sector and understands the critical need for pro-growth trade, tax and other economic policies.”
Timmons’ letter is available in its entirety here.
A highly interconnected global economy is a fact for manufacturers big and small throughout the United States. Advances in technology and transportation over recent decades have created substantial new opportunities for manufacturers in the United States to reach millions of foreign consumers. That interconnection has also brought increased competition from growing manufacturing sectors around the world, in some cases fueled by market-distorting and discriminatory trade practices that put our manufacturers, workers and communities at an unfair disadvantage.
When markets are open and rules of fairness and equal opportunity are enforced for all, manufacturers in the United States can and do succeed. Consider the following:
- More than half of the U.S. manufacturing workforce depends on exports for their jobs, and nearly half of all U.S.-manufactured goods exports are sold just to the 20 countries that have eliminated barriers through free trade agreements.
- Employees in the “most trade-intensive industries” earn an average compensation of nearly $94,000, or more than 56 percent more than those in manufacturing companies that were less engaged in trade.
With the world’s most productive manufacturing sector in the world, but a domestic market that represents only 10 percent of global consumption and growing global competition, manufacturers in the United States need more robust trade policies and agreements to grow. To be part of the solution, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has shared with the Trump transition team our “Competing to Win” agenda, which includes a blueprint for a winning trade policy.
The NAM is calling on the new administration to focus on three key elements to ensure an open and fair trading system:
- Strong enforcement of global trade rules to crack down on cheating.
- Negotiation of new bilateral and other trade agreements to expand market access, raise standards, ensure fairness and equal opportunity and eliminate foreign market-distorting practices.
- Adoption of customs, financing, export control and other policies to make manufacturers in the United States more globally competitive.
Manufacturers are committed to working domestically and internationally to tap growth beyond our borders and eliminate foreign trade abuses to continue to expand a highly productive and innovative U.S. manufacturing sector that can continue to sustain and increase good-paying American jobs.
This blog is part of the NAM’s “12 Days of Transition” series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.
Iowa Governor Has Been a Longtime Champion of Manufacturing
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons and the NAM’s former Board Chair and current Chair of the Board of Vermeer Corporation in Iowa, Mary Andringa, released the following statements after the nomination of Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) to serve as the ambassador to China:
“Terry Branstad is the perfect pick for this important position. Working closely with Gov. Branstad and his outstanding team for many years, I know he is a man true to his word and has been tested over and over again as Iowa’s chief executive,” said Timmons. “From leading his state out of tough economic times to balancing Iowa’s budget, he understands what manufacturers and businesses need to invest and grow—and has a proven record of results.
“The governor’s deep understanding of China, and close relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, uniquely qualifies him for this vital post. For manufacturers, China stands as one of our largest trade and investment partners, but it is also a major challenge, imposing a range of market-distorting policies and practices that impact manufacturers in the United States,” said Timmons. “I have full confidence that Gov. Branstad will help forge a strong U.S.–China relationship that is based on the principles of fairness, respect and, most importantly, the rule of law. He understands that manufacturers are committed to building meaningful ties with China—but will not settle for anything less than a free and fair competitive landscape where both countries are playing by the same rules.”
“As the leader of an Iowa-based equipment manufacturer, I have worked closely with Gov. Branstad over the course of his many years of service to the state of Iowa,” said Andringa. “The governor is a pragmatic and inclusive leader who knows how to bring people together to solve problems and pursue opportunities. He has more than 30 years of experience working closely with Chinese leaders and has proudly hosted them in Iowa on numerous occasions. The governor knows the importance of a strong and constructive relationship with one of our largest trading partners, and he has the experience needed to represent us effectively in Beijing.”
CONTACT: Jennifer Drogus (202) 637-3090
NAM Tells Congress to Put Politics Aside and Restore Bank to Full Functionality
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement calling on Congress to use the lame-duck session to restore the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank to full functionality:
“As long as the Ex-Im Bank cannot fully operate, America will lose manufacturing jobs to other countries, which are winning new sales and manufacturing while our hands are tied. It’s time for Congress to show some backbone—and real leadership—to make the agency work again for hardworking Americans across the country. Jobs and livelihoods cannot be sacrificed to score a political point. A supermajority of Congress has already settled the question of Ex-Im reauthorization. Voters just reaffirmed the importance they place on strengthening manufacturing, and manufacturers need a fully functional Ex-Im Bank to compete and win again in the global economy. Anything less means manufacturers in the United States will lose. In fact, our foreign competitors would love to see the Ex-Im Bank remain hobbled.”
CONTACT: Jennifer Drogus, (202) 637-3090