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More Smoke and Mirrors, but Nothing New from the Anti-Trade Lobby

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Another article, another letter and another press call from those opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and particularly its investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions emerged today. What we’ve seen over the past two weeks is, in reality, just more of the smoke-and-mirrors approach that opponents have been using for years, rehashing the same tired, false and discredited critiques of ISDS. These critiques have been rejected again and again by:

  • The Obama administration when it fully considered and rejected these same arguments in its 20092012 Model BIT review, which included a broad public comment process;
  • The Senate last year when it strongly rejected Sen. Elizabeth Warrens (D-MA) amendment to eliminate ISDS from Trade Promotion Authority;
  • Both the House and Senate when they rejected such arguments and voted in favor of Trade Promotion Authority legislation last year with its explicit direction to negotiate ISDS in new trade agreements; and
  • A broad range of well-grounded academics, think-tank experts and media outlets, including The Washington Post and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

But like a group of vaudeville magiciansand equally out of datethe anti-trade and anti-ISDS crowd is using a sleight of hand to distract from the clear facts: that ISDS is a respected mechanism, fully in line with our own Constitution and basic rules, that helps protect individuals, NGOs and businesses alike from discriminatory and unfair conduct.

For those who may be new to the debate, here is a mini-video course of why ISDS is valuable.

Fair Play

Read More

Manufacturers Disappointed by Tale of Two Kaines

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

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


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

DNC Platform Ignores How Much TPP Meets the Objectives Laid Out

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Reading the Democratic National Committee (DNC) platform paragraphs on trade, one might believe that trade and trade agreements have been an overall negative for the United States, its entrepreneurs and its workers. Indeed, that is the apparent belief of many in labor and other organizations that are opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In reality, the massive growth of trade and U.S. participation in helping create the World Trade Organization (WTO) and leading the conclusion of 14 free trade agreements (FTAs) with 20 countries over the past half century have spurred a quadrupling of U.S. exports of made-in-the-USA manufactured goods. Those exports and other rules have helped advance a quadrupling of U.S. manufacturing output. Hundreds of millions of people around the world have moved out of abject poverty into a growing middle class, which is vital in its own right but also provides new and needed growth opportunities for the most-productive manufacturing sector in the worldour own.

exports quadruple

The platform describes many things that trade agreements should and shouldn’t do. A quick review shows that the TPP meets every single one of the DNC platform’s objectives; yet, unfortunately, the platform fails to endorse the TPP.


DNC Platform TPP Provisions
“Any future trade agreements must make sure our trading partners cannot undercut American workers by taking shortcuts on labor policy or the environment.”

“We believe any new trade agreements must include strong and enforceable labor and environmental standards in their core text with streamlined and effective enforcement mechanisms.”

The TPP includes the most extensive labor and environment provisions of any U.S. trade agreement, requiring countries to adopt and enforce domestically the types of International Labour Organization, international environmental agreement and other standards that U.S. labor and environment groups have long cheered.

The TPP provides new levers to address with labor and environmental violations that otherwise would not exist:  if countries fail to meet their extensive obligations, they will face dispute settlement proceedings and potentially trade sanctions.

“They must not undermine democratic decision-making through special privileges and private courts for corporations.”

“We should never enter into a trade agreement that prevents our government, or other governments, from putting in place rules that protect the environment, food safety or the health of American citizens or others around the world.”

The TPP promotes U.S. democratic values in many ways, including by:

·         Explicitly affirming the rights of governments to regulate in the public interest;

·         Providing any individual, organization or business the ability to protect their property located abroad through a neutral forum, but that forum cannot overturn any law or regulation; and

·         Ensuring food safety and other regulatory and standards provisions are developed in a science-based manner as we do in the United States.

“Trade negotiations must be transparent and inclusive.” The TPP was negotiated with strong public consultations with stakeholders of all types, with public hearings, public comments and more than 1,800 congressional briefings.

The full text of the TPP has been available since November 2015 for all members of Congress and the public to read.

“We will oppose trade agreements that do not support good American jobs, raise wages and improve our national security.” The TPP eliminates all foreign tariffs on U.S.-manufactured exports in the 11 TPP countries and eliminates other discriminatory and unfair barriers. The TPP also sets high standards based on the U.S. Constitution, laws and regulations to promote a more level playing field and help manufacturers and other businesses and their workers compete more successfully.
“Trade agreements should crack down on the unfair and illegal subsidies other countries grant their businesses at the expense of ours.” Combatting unfair subsidies is dealt with explicitly as part of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, which currently applies to all TPP countries and 161 other countries around the world, and the TPP in no way undermines countries’ WTO obligations. Furthermore, the TPP adds new anti-subsidy disciplines by prohibiting subsidies to foreign state-owned enterprises, as well as other disciplines to ensure such enterprises do not receive or give unfair advantages to our competitors.
“It should promote innovation of and access to lifesaving medicines.” The TPP advances innovation by ensuring that innovation is protected, including with new provisions that criminalize the growing theft of trade secrets, as well as strong provisions on the protection of U.S. patents, trademarks and copyrights.

The TPP could have and should go further in protecting the innovation climate that will spur development and dissemination of lifesaving medicines. Strong intellectual property protections have, indeed, fostered the creation of 91 percent of all available medicines.

“And it should protect a free and open internet.” The TPP makes major advances in promoting a free and open internet not seen in any other trade agreement, including through:

·         Preserving the right of individuals and businesses and organizations of all sizes to access and move data and be forced to store data locally; and

·         Promoting public participation and transparency in the development of laws and regulations affecting the internet.

For manufacturers in the United States to continue to grow and to sustain and add new high-skilled and good-paying American jobs, we need new demand for our products. It’s that simple. Manufacturers need access to new markets without discriminatory and unfair barriers. That is what trade agreements like the TPP will do.

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

Manufacturers Congratulate Gov. Pence

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Manufacturers congratulate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Donald Trump has chosen a running mate who has proven executive experience as well as a keen understanding of the legislative process. While in Congress, he was a champion for manufacturing, accruing a 90 percent lifetime voting record with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

For manufacturers, however, this election isn’t about the personalities on the ticket. It’s about the policies these candidates support. We are encouraged by Gov. Pence’s support for pro-growth tax reform, regulatory reform, energy and health care policies. We hope Gov. Pence, who has supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, will persuade his running mate that expanded trade will make America even greater.

Despite his many policy strengths, we have been disappointed by Gov. Pence’s support for laws that fall short of protecting equal opportunity for all citizens. We hope a Trump-Pence ticket will strongly support and defend the equality of opportunity and recognize how diverse workforces strengthen businesses and their communities.

Ultimately, we hope both Trump and Pence will use their campaign to advance an agenda that truly supports manufacturing and the more than 12 million men and women who make things in America. The NAM has already laid out its roadmap for economic growth through manufacturing in our Competing to Win agenda.

ITC Review Confirms Trade Agreements Benefit America, but Ignores Major Manufacturing Issues

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers has been providing a lot of #TruthontheTrail this election season. It’s time for some more truth to weigh new government information.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) just released a congressionally mandated report on the impact of U.S. trade agreements on the U.S. economy. Contrary to statements by some presidential and other candidates, it finds that:

  • Bilateral and regional trade agreements negotiated by the United States have increased GDP, employment, wages, trade and exports; and
  • Such U.S. bilateral and regional trade agreements have “had a positive effect, on average, on U.S. bilateral merchandise trade balances with the partner countries, increasing trade surpluses.”

But like its past reports, the ITC misses the mark in many major ways, underreporting the impact of trade agreements on manufacturers in the United States:

  • U.S. Manufacturing Has Doubled Since NAFTA. Most prominently, the ITC report ignores the massive growth in U.S. manufacturing output. Since NAFTA, both U.S. manufacturing output and U.S.-manufactured goods exports have doubled. Indeed, manufacturers in the United States are producing more than ever before. The recognition of the growth of manufacturing overall is important, particularly when a large portion of that output is exported to trade agreement partners. Indeed, U.S. free trade agreement partners purchase 13 times more from the United States than the rest of the world and have been an important source of U.S. manufacturing growth.

Manufacturing Output and Exports 93-05

  • Non-Tariff Benefits of Trade Agreements Have Broad Impacts. The ITC’s economic analysis simply cannot and does not capture the vast importance of trade agreements to the U.S. manufacturing economy. When discussing non-tariff issues, such as intellectual property (IP) protections in U.S. trade agreements, for example, the ITC notes the increase in IP receipts. It fails to include, however, any discussion of the importance of these provisions to supporting high-paying manufacturing jobs. There are similarly limited analyses of other provisions, such as investment rules that help many manufacturers reach foreign consumers while supporting good-paying American jobs.
  • The World Is Moving Forward Without Us. The ITC’s analysis is also U.S. focused, ignoring the growth in world trade, hundreds of millions of new entrants into the global middle class and foreign trade agreements that exclude and disadvantage the United States. While the United States has 14 trade agreements with 20 countries in operation, the World Trade Organization reports that there are now more than 270 bilateral and regional agreements that provide improved access and better rules for those countries that are participating. The vast majority of these agreements exclude the United States and disadvantage manufacturers in the United States.

Manufacturers in the United States now produce more than ever before and support more than 18 million American jobs. As the most productive manufacturing sector globally, manufacturers in the United States need new foreign markets to sustain, let alone grow, current employment levels. Trade agreements, along with competitiveness and trade enforcement tools, are critical to improved U.S. access to foreign markets and the continued growth of manufacturing in the United States.

Manufacturers Hear from President’s Top Economic Adviser

By | Economy, Events, Manufacturing Summit, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Manufacturers blanketed Capitol Hill yesterday during the first day of the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) 2016 Manufacturing Summit, and members of Congress and their staff heard from nearly 500 Summit participants. Before heading back to Capitol Hill, we kicked off day two by hearing from President Obama’s top economic adviser, Jeff Zients.

Zients is the director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy. In his remarks to Summit attendees, he offered his perspective on two of our top priorities: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank board nominations.

Zients addresses attendees at the NAM’s 2016 Manufacturing Summit. Photo by David Bohrer, NAM.

Zients addresses attendees at the NAM’s 2016 Manufacturing Summit. Photo by David Bohrer, NAM.

He reiterated many of our arguments about why manufacturers need TPP:

  • Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers are outside our borders, and Asia alone will have a middle class of 3.2 billion people over the next decade.
  • TPP will improve the global competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States as well as our ability to increase sales to markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • TPP will deepen our partnerships with our allies.
  • The United States should be writing the rules of the global economy. If we don’t, China will.

These are just some of the reasons why manufacturers of all sizes from across the country are storming Capitol Hill this week to continue our push for TPP and why the Obama administration must work closely with Congress to forge the path forward so we pass TPP this year.

On the Ex-Im Bank, Zients rightly argued that we can expand exports for manufacturers in the United States if we get the agency back up to full strength. That means the Senate needs to confirm a nominee to the Ex-Im Bank’s board so it can once again be fully functional.

During the Manufacturing Summit, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and Zients discuss critical issues facing manufacturers. Photo by David Bohrer, NAM.

During the Manufacturing Summit, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and Zients discuss critical issues facing manufacturers. Photo by David Bohrer, NAM.

While the NAM won’t always agree with the administration on all issues, we appreciate its efforts to expand export opportunities for manufacturers in the United States. Of course, more work needs to be done, which is why manufacturers will continue speaking out today—and every day—until our leaders act.