TTIP: Time to Get It Done Right

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At this week’s 13th Round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks in New York City, the U.S. and EU reiterated their political-level goal to conclude an ambitious agreement by the end of this year. Both sides say they are committed to reaching agreement on as many issues as possible by this summer, with an eye toward “end game” negotiations on the most challenging areas by the end of the year.

For manufacturers in the U.S., it remains absolutely critical that the United States and EU resist any temptation to conclude an agreement that falls short of the type of ambitious and high-standard outcome envisioned when the talks launched in 2013. During my presentation at yesterday’s TTIP Stakeholder Forum, I underscored the extent to which manufacturers need an ambitious TTIP in order to boost growth and opportunity during a time of slowing global growth and other challenges around the world. Read More

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

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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 U.S. manufacturers 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 U.S. 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 Deputy Commerce 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 the 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.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Pritzker (center) engages the NAM delegation about how to advance manufacturers’ top priorities in the U.S.


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.



An Immodest Proposal: European Insistence on “Investor Court” in TTIP Out of Step with International Practice, Out of Line for a Successful Deal

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U.S. and European government officials, companies, and other stakeholders converge on New York this week for the 13th round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Manufacturers continue to stress that negotiators should not settle for anything less than the kind of comprehensive, far-reaching agreement that further strengthens the U.S.-EU economic relationship, eliminates barriers to trade and investment and sets high global standards that promote robust investment that drives global growth and higher standards of living. Read More

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

Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr. 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 fair for industrial technology, Hannover Messe, celebrated its 69th year with German Chancellor Merkel and U.S. President Obama opening the ceremonies. President Obama was given the honors as the United States was chosen as Hannover Messe’s partnership country for 2016. This morning, the official trade fair 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 over 18 massive buildings housing of the trade fair 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 fair 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 EU in the largest economic and trade partnership.  I found the protesters and signs quite revealing, as they railed not just against TTIP, but a host of other issues, including basic capitalism.  As I listened to the chants and discussions, it seemed that 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 TTIP will make those issues better or worse.  And beyond stopping TTIP, solutions were non-existent.

The contrast between the makers, doers and dreamers inside the Hannover fairgrounds and outside is a stark one. Just being at the 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 life-saving technology. It is far past time for those that participate in the manufacturing economy and create solutions everyday talk more and more loudly on what trade and trade agreements mean to our growth.

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:

  • 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 Representative Dave Reichert, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade, House Ways and Means Committee and Representative Ron Kind, 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., U.S. Representative Rob Kind (D-WI), Linda Dempsey, Vice President, International Economic Affairs, NAM (moderator), Daniel R. Dwight, President & CEO, Cooley/Group. Not pictured: U.S. Representative 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

China Agrees to End Export Subsidies in Win for U.S. Manufacturers and Global Trading Rules

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

In a win for U.S. manufacturers, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced today a new bilateral agreement with China to dismantle a major government-funded export subsidy program that had boosted Chinese manufacturers at the expense of foreign companies. The new agreement eliminates more than 175 measures challenged by the United States in a February 2015 World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge and mandates follow-up consultation between the United States and China to ensure robust implementation of the agreement. Read More

A New MTB Process: Time to Move This Bill

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Congress took a major step toward boosting manufacturers in the United States with yesterday’s introduction of the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016. This legislation would establish a transparent, objective, predictable and regularized process for Congress to consider and enact Miscellaneous Tariff Bills (MTBs), which correct, on a temporary basis, distortions in the U.S. tariff code by eliminating duties on imported products for which there is no or insufficient domestic production and availability.

NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey issued a statement upon the bills’ introduction:

“Manufacturers are encouraged that, after three years of calling upon Congress to act, leaders in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to create a transparent and predictable MTB process that eliminates unnecessary border taxes. Amid rising costs and a tough global economy, manufacturers are paying and will continue to pay a heavy price if Congress does not move on this legislation. These distortions are particularly severe for those manufacturers that must pay tariffs on necessary inputs not produced domestically, while the competing foreign finished product comes in duty-free.”

“The NAM urges that MTB reform legislation advance as soon as possible, because the sooner we move forward with these needed reforms, the sooner relief will be available to manufacturers.”

Read More

Quorum Call – Ex-Im Board Needs Directors Confirmed to Operate Fully

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This week, U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank users, stakeholders and government officials, including members of the administration, will convene in Washington, D.C., for the 2016 Annual Ex-Im Summit. There’s reason to celebrate at this year’s conference as the Ex-Im Bank, a critical tool for businesses of all sizes across the United States, was reauthorized last December by a supermajority in Congress after an extensive advocacy campaign. While the Ex-Im Bank’s doors are open, it can’t operate at full capacity because three of the five seats on its board of directors are empty. As a result, the Ex-Im Bank lacks the necessary quorum to review and approve certain transactions. If Congress fails to act on the pending nomination to the board, the agency will be handicapped in its mission to help U.S. exporters compete and succeed in the global consumer marketplace. With 95 percent of those consumers outside our borders, the Ex-Im Bank helps exporters take advantage of huge market opportunities overseas that will fuel job growth here at home.  Read More

U.S. and Canadian Businesses Speak Out: Removing Wood Pallet Exemption Would Undermine Trade and Commercial Opportunities

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

President Barack Obama’s meetings last month with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized the value of open trade and investment between the two countriessome $2 billion per day between the two countriesas a linchpin of the relationship. Possible regulatory changes related to wood packaging, however, would impede that commercial relationship, adding unnecessary costs that would harm business and consumers in both the United States and Canada.

The NAM on Friday joined 37 other organizations on both sides of the U.S.Canada border in a letter urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to halt efforts to impose these new rules. Our collective organizations represent companies that are supporting millions of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity, working for industries in nearly every area of bilateral trade, from aerospace to retail, from autos to food and beverages and from heavy equipment to cosmetics. Read More