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New State Department “Investment Climate Statements” Serve as Important Resource for Businesses and Roadmap for Governments to Grow

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

The U.S. State Department just released its annual “investment climate statements” that examine trade, investment, rule of law and related issues for more than 170 foreign markets. As I explained at an event organized by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), these statements provide invaluable information for U.S. manufacturers and other businesses that seek access to foreign markets through exports, investments and other partnerships.

International commerce and investment are critical to manufacturers in the United States. Exports support the jobs of more than half of America’s 12 million manufacturing workers, and foreign investment by U.S. companies spurs those exports.

Foreign investment and U.S. exports work hand-in-hand to benefit U.S. companies, consumers and workers. Indeed, U.S. companies that invest overseas are outsized participants in the U.S. economy and are stronger because of their access to foreign markets. In fact, the primary reason that companies invest abroad is to sell to foreign consumers and bolster their U.S. operations.

Based on the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, consider that U.S. companies that invest overseas are some of America’s:

  • Largest exporters, exporting 47 percent of all U.S.-manufactured goods sold overseas ($660 billion in 2014). More than 40 percent ($269 billion) of those manufactured exports go to the overseas operations of American companies to help promote U.S. products in foreign markets.
  • Biggest producers, accounting for nearly $1.4 trillion, or almost 65 percent, of all U.S. private-sector value-added manufacturing output in 2014.
  • Most important innovators, expending nearly $269 billion on research and development in the United States in 2014. Of that, 68 percent (or $183 billion) was spent by manufacturers.
  • Largest investors in capital expansion, investing $713.5 billion, or 24 percent, of all spending on new property, plants and capital equipment in the United States in 2014.
  • Most generous employers, paying U.S. manufacturing workers on average $96,030, or about 18 percent more than average U.S. manufacturing wages in 2014.

For manufacturers and other businesses seeking foreign customers, identifying the most promising foreign markets is a difficult, time-consuming process that requires extensive knowledge. The State Department “investment climate statements” provide a valuable resource to businesses, offering detailed information on many of the critical factors they need to understand, including:

  • Openness to trade and investment, market barriers and business requirements;
  • Rule of law, including transparency, impartial rulemaking, corruption and the legal system;
  • The protection of private property (foreign and domestic), including innovation and intellectual property, the sanctity of contracts and land rights;
  • Competition policy, including with respect to state-owned enterprises,
  • Political risk; and
  • Digital policy trends.

Manufacturers welcome this year’s analysis of digital issues, including regulations on cross border data flows and the localization of information and communications technology infrastructure. As manufacturers implement technology and data in overseas sales, production and product usage, these issues have become increasingly important.

These investment climate statements also aid foreign countries looking to bolster their commercial climate. Many of manufacturers’ strong concerns with barriers, distortions and weak standards that are limiting U.S. growth appear in these statements.

Given the significance of international commercial engagement to the U.S. economy, manufacturing sector and workforce, the National Association of Manufacturers advocates open markets overseas, robust standards of governance and the protection of property. This includes investment and intellectual property as well as strong enforcement mechanisms like neutral investment dispute settlement mechanisms to prevent foreign country mistreatment or theft of U.S. property.

To learn more, read about or listen to the discussion at the launch of these statements at the CSIS event.

What Do Women in Manufacturing Say?

By | General, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Guest blog by Heidi Alderman, 2017 STEP Ahead Chairwoman and Senior Vice President, Intermediates North America, BASF Corporation

There is a place for us in manufacturing.

I have worked in the industry for more than 30 years and have seen an increasing number of women join the ranks. However, we still need more!

Manufacturers have difficulty recruiting women because many believe the jobs are physical, repetitive and boringbut none of this is true. Today’s manufacturing jobs are highly technical, well-paying and offer a variety of career options with bright futures.

Manufacturing allows women to use creativity to solve problems, contribute to society and connect with others. Women in manufacturing are given the chance to solve the world’s problems, something that not many can say of their jobs. My work gives me pride in knowing the difference BASF makes by creating chemistry that solves the world’s problems.

Growing up, I saw manufacturing become the backbone of the United States. I studied engineering in college because I excelled at math and science in high school. I didn’t quite know what engineering was, but as it turns out, I made the right choice.

For me, engineering isn’t just a job; it’s a mindset for solving problems, whether they are technical, commercial or life-related. I’ve had roles in research, manufacturing, purchasing, marketing and business management, and the work has always been challenging, exciting and fun. Science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) career fields require the unique skills that women bring to the workforcea focus not only on achieving results, but also compassion for people, the desire to positively impact culture and the ability to motivate employees.

Although women in manufacturing have come a long way,  I know we must work together to enhance the industry image and communicate the new opportunities in this age of change. Whether you’re interested in engineering, design or even marketing, there is a place for YOU in manufacturing.

 

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.

ADP: Manufacturing Employment Was Unchanged in August

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

ADP said that manufacturing employment was unchanged in August after rising in July for the first time in six months. Overall, hiring in the sector has been challenged so far this year, with employment down by 33,000 workers through the first eight months of 2016. This suggests that manufacturers have been wary about adding to their workforce in light of ongoing global headwinds and sluggish growth in demand and production. Recent data have suggested some improvements in activity for U.S. manufacturers, and hopefully, this will translate into increased hiring moving forward for the sector. Read More

SOM Tour 2016: New Hampshire Is a Hotbed of Innovative Manufacturing

By | General, Policy Experts, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

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A State of Manufacturing Tour guest blog post by Jim Roche, president of the Business & Industry Association, New Hampshire’s statewide Chamber of Commerce 

Today, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) kicked off its 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour in New Hampshire—and with good reason! New Hampshire is a hotbed of innovative manufacturing and home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary less than two weeks from now.

Here at the Business & Industry Association (BIA) of New Hampshire, the NAM’s official affiliate in the Granite State, we fight every day for policies that support our manufacturers—our state’s most important job creators. We push state legislators, the governor, our congressional delegation and regulators for public policy and commonsense solutions that are friendly to job creators and promote prosperity for New Hampshire businesses.

At today’s stop, the NAM laid out several key public policies that will help put manufacturing in America on solid ground, including important ideas likjim rochee fixing our outdated tax code and upgrading old infrastructure to take us toward a more modern economy.

Today’s tour also highlighted the many ways manufacturers are changing our lives for the better. Manufacturing has grown well beyond the outdated images of mill and textile work, particularly in New England. Today, manufacturing leads in electronics, fabricated metals, machinery and technology. And manufacturing is connecting people across continents. The sector offers outstanding jobs and careers for nearly 68,000 New Hampshire workers. New Hampshire’s manufacturers export almost $4 billion of goods around the world every year, bringing new wealth and economic activity into our state’s economy.

As we move deeper into this important election season, manufacturing voters are asking candidates hard questions about how they will help America compete to win in a global economy. No matter the outcome of the election, we need policies that support today’s diverse and dynamic manufacturers. When manufacturing succeeds, we’re all better off.

 

Remembering David Olson

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David Olson, President of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

David Olson, President of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Manufacturers lost a great leader. Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President David Olson will be missed greatly by manufacturers, his fellow NAM Board Members and many more across the country.

David left us after a life not long enough, but long enough for joy and love and laughter and good times – and long enough to leave a lasting footprint on the business community, his state and his country.

He inspired all of us and will be remembered by the countless individuals whose lives he made better. David always had colorful stories to tell, laughs to laugh, words to write, legislators to buttonhole, lobbies to walk and battles to fight. He passionately led the business community in Minnesota for decades with great optimism and strong faith. As a champion for economic growth, he provided pragmatic solutions that transcended party politics.

What most of us remember best is not specifically what David did or said, but how he did it – as a unique, wonderful, patriotic and highly intelligent human being. He connected with each of us in some unusual way to get a job done. Through his words and actions, he made us proud and proud to know him.

He was the epitome of hardworking Minnesotan values and a leader among his peers. I was fortunate enough to count him as my friend.

In an industry that seems to grow more homogenized every day, David had very much his own voice. His lifetime of dedication serves as a monument to the exemplary man he was.  His integrity and hard work will encourage those who knew him and will continue to benefit those who make Minnesota their home for years to come.  Among the best things David has left behind is his shining example.

Remembering Dexter Baker, Former NAM Chairman

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Manufacturing lost an effective leader and one of its strongest advocates last week.  The NAM family was saddened to hear of the loss of Dexter F. Baker, who chaired the NAM Board of Directors in 1992.

Mr. Baker spent his career with Air Products and Chemicals, ultimately rising to serve as chairman and CEO.  As a manufacturer, he was ahead of his time. Mr. Baker saw the incredible possibilities offered by global commerce and helped Air Products expand into markets abroad.  Today, the company has expanded to over 50 countries.

Mr. Baker brought that same acumen to his tenure on the NAM Board of Directors. He helped position the NAM as a powerful voice for the manufacturing community and a leading advocate for pro-growth policies to help manufacturing expand and grow internationally, and create jobs.

We will be forever grateful for Dexter Baker’s leadership not only on behalf of manufacturing but also in his community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dexter’s wife of 61 years Dottie and his family.

With Conventions Over, Time To Put Policy Over Politics

By | America's Business, Economy, Presidents Blog | No Comments

Just as he did in his State of the Union address eight months ago, President Obama again put manufacturing front and center last night in his nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.

He touted some achievements of his term—new manufacturing jobs and three new free trade agreements—but then laid out a new challenge for the next four years: creating one million manufacturing jobs.

That’s a laudable goal, but it’s clear that something has to change. President Obama simply rehashed some of the policies of his current administration—growing exports, for example (which we, of course, support). But manufacturers need bolder policy prescriptions. After all, the jobs report this morning reflected that manufacturing lost 15,000 jobs last month. If the status quo isn’t working now, why should Americans expect more of the same to lead to one million new jobs?

Of course, the first step in creating one million jobs is to stop going backwards. But that is exactly what is going to continue happening in a few months if our leaders don’t decisively deal with the impending fiscal abyss. The fiscal abyss means job losses for small and medium-sized manufacturers as a result of tax increases as well as job losses for innovators in the defense industry, who will be hit hard by indiscriminate cuts that will do little to solve our long-term fiscal challenges. Add to that the significantly mounting regulatory costs on manufacturers, and the result is a business climate that stifles job creation.

Neither candidate offered policy specifics these past two weeks. Over the next two months, they should. The problems facing manufacturers are abundantly clear, and manufacturers want to hear what both candidates plan to do to solve them.

Jobs and Energy Go Hand in Hand

By | Energy, Presidents Blog | No Comments

The NAM and Politico teamed up at the conventions to host events focusing on “Growing the Economy.” You can read about the RNC event here and yesterday’s DNC event here.

Politico has hosted a number of other discussions, one of which caught my eye today.  The subject was energy policy. A replay of the event is available here.

A discussion of energy policy could just as well have been held at our events on jobs and the economy.  After all, a strong, pro-growth energy policy can help create jobs, particularly in manufacturing, which is energy intensive, using one-third of the U.S. energy supply.

While members of both parties talk about an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, the United States has yet to adopt anything of the sort.  We have abundant resources at our disposal, but many remain off limits, whether through the inaction of Congress or the overzealousness of regulators, to name just two reasons.

An all-of-the-above energy strategy means just what it says.  It means using traditional sources of energy like coal and oil.  But, the Environmental Protection Agency through its Utility MACT and Cross-State Air Pollution rules is looking to drive coal-fired power plants out of business.  As for oil, permitting delays and other regulatory obstacles continue to thwart new exploration and development offshore.

An all-of-the-above strategy also embraces new opportunities such as those presented by the shale gas boom.

And alternative sources have a role to play too. Nuclear needs to be part of our energy mix—it’s a form of clean energy we have yet to utilize fully. Long-term development of this vital energy source has unfortunately fallen victim to political battles. And, there have been many new and exciting innovations with renewable sources of energy like wind and solar that have helped expand the use of these important resources.

Our nation’s energy policy can’t single out one of these sources.  We must embrace them all, especially if we want to grow manufacturing and remain competitive. Reliable and abundant energy will bring investment to our shores—and with it, jobs. And it will encourage manufacturers in the United States to expand their operations and hire more workers.

As we develop additional sources of energy, manufacturers will be able to grow their capabilities. Manufacturers are doing more with less because they are harnessing new technologies and becoming more energy efficient. Earlier this week, I had the chance to speak with manufacturers about their efforts to develop new and innovative systems that lower energy costs by making manufacturing facilities more efficient. NAM member Ingersoll Rand and its CEO Mike Lamach hosted an event with Senator Amy Klobuchar and Gen. Wesley Clark to discuss the issue and its role in a comprehensive energy policy.

A strong energy policy is a strong jobs policy.  That’s something for the men and women we put into office this November to think about.

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