US lawmakers urged to create national strategy for manufacturing

17 April 2020

Associated Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has called on the US federal government to develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy for manufacturing.


AEM leads effort toward national strategy for manufacturing

According to a statement from the organisation, it’s asking lawmakers and President Donald Trump to enact initiatives it claims will strengthen the economy, create new jobs and opportunities, and ensure the US is properly positioned to offer equipment manufacturers the best environment in which to innovate, manufacture, and do business.

“The federal government should take strong and immediate action to support equipment manufacturers, protect the 2.8 million jobs that they support, and guarantee the viability of an industry that is essential to the economic and national security of our country as well as our way of life,” said AEM President Dennis Slater.

“Between rising manufacturing costs and the industry’s growing skills gap, not to mention the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities across the country, it is imperative that our elected officials mobilise the full force of the federal government in support of the country’s manufacturing sector,” he continued.

To confront both the short-term and the long-term challenges facing the equipment manufacturing industry, AEM is urging the US Congress and the Trump administration to consider the following:

  • The creation of a national institute that would serve as a hub for all federal manufacturing programs in the executive branch and coordinate federal manufacturing policy across agencies;
  • The establishment of a chief manufacturing officer reporting directly to the president of the United States who is responsible for developing and carrying out the national manufacturing strategy; and
  • The formation of a national manufacturing council to provide non-partisan advice to the president on how to strengthen the manufacturing sector and ensure the future competitiveness of US manufacturing in the global economy.

AEM reports there are currently 58 manufacturing-related programs across nearly a dozen federal agencies, which it states “make it needlessly difficult and expensive to carry out their missions and impossible to estimate total federal investment in manufacturing.”

In its statement, AEM says a coordinated national effort would significantly raise the profile of manufacturing in the federal government, increase efficiencies and collaboration across existing federal manufacturing programs, reduce wasteful spending, and improve the ability and accountability of the federal government to respond to rapid changes in the global manufacturing landscape.

“It is imperative that our elected officials recognize that a strong equipment manufacturing industry is key to the future prosperity and long-term competitiveness of the United States,” said Jeff Reed, AEM Board of Directors chair and president and CEO of Reed International. “A comprehensive national strategy for manufacturing would not only eliminate redundancies and improve efficiencies across the federal government, but would focus all efforts on one single objective: the future of manufacturing in this country.”

AEM says a legislative proposal by US Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) aims to achieve the objectives of the proposed national strategy for manufacturing, and the organisation is working with Sen. Peters to ensure the legislation utilises current program funding and personnel to improve efficiencies and reduce redundancies in existing federal manufacturing programs, reduces onerous and ineffective regulations, and attracts broad bipartisan support.

AEM says it’s encouraging other trade associations and business groups to join them in working with the federal government to develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy for manufacturing.

According to a statement, “The initial recommendations by AEM are meant to be a starting point for a broader dialogue about how to ensure the country’s global leadership in manufacturing and guarantee the long-term economic and national security of the United States.”

Past efforts to strengthen the US manufacturing sector include Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, which was disbanded in August 2017.

“President Trump created the American Manufacturing Council (in January 2017) to advise him on domestic manufacturing initiatives,” Kip Eideberg, AEM senior vice president of government and industry relations, told The Hill.

“It was disbanded in August 2017. Before that, President Obama had created the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. We are urging President Trump to create a National Manufacturing Council as part of the national strategy on manufacturing so that he once again can receive a broad range of input from manufacturers regarding industry needs and suggestions for improving federal policies on manufacturing.”

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