Improving the international climate for trade and commerce is an immediate focus for world leaders, with major discussions at the recent Hamburg-hosted G20 summit and within the Trump administration. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and its members strongly agree: with more than half of the U.S. manufacturing workforce dependent on customers outside the United States, boosting the global economy (and addressing market barriers) is a vital focal point for manufacturers big and small across the United States.
Given the outsized role of international commerce for manufacturing in the United States, I traveled to Europe last week to press both U.S. and international stakeholders for action on international commercial issues that make a difference for manufacturing growth and competitiveness. My meetings included senior U.S. government officials on the frontlines of the global economy, leaders of important global institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and international business partners.
In Paris, I met with OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria and his senior leadership to discuss the OECD’s work on a range of issues, such as international trade, investment, science and innovation, labor and health. I introduced the OECD to our new Engaging America’s Global Leadership (EAGL) coalition, which seeks to ensure that the OECD and other global institutions operate within their mandate, are transparent and accountable to their members and follow best practices in consultations with the private sector and other stakeholders and in the development of analyses and recommendations. Those productive discussions have already spurred follow-up opportunities to engage OECD officials on these issues in both Paris and Washington.
In Geneva, I met with senior WTO officials, introducing the new EAGL coalition and also discussing a number of other key manufacturing trade priorities in advance of the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires.
In both cities, I met with senior officials at the U.S. Missions to the OECD, the United Nations and WTO who work tirelessly with these institutions to move forward American priorities and defend American interests. We discussed the important role these institutions can and should play in creating a more fair and open international economy in which manufacturing can thrive. I also had the opportunity to meet with NAM members and international business leaders to discuss common challenges and new opportunities to band together to improve the international commercial climate to grow manufacturing and good-paying jobs.
Since its founding, the NAM has been committed to open and fair trade and constructive engagement with global institutions that are pillars of the international trading system. That commitment has never been stronger. From our work here at home seeking a strong and pro-growth outcome to North American trade negotiations to our work across the globe, the NAM is at the frontlines on the core international issues that are critical to support a strong, growing and competitive manufacturing sector in the United States.