June 20, 2017

As We Celebrate Manufacturing in America, Manufacturers Seek Strong U.S. Leadership Abroad to Address Foreign Trade Barriers

As hundreds of manufacturers large and small from across America gather in Washington, DC for the National Association of Manufacturers’ annual Manufacturing Summit, the focus will rightly be on critical domestic issues such as infrastructure, regulatory reform, and tax reform. Strong outcomes in these areas are vital to improve the competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States both at home and around the world. While we must get our domestic house in order, it is also vital to monitor foreign market-distorting policies and barriers that limit exports that support millions of manufacturing jobs in the United States.

Such barriers are not only due to efforts by individual countries, but also as a result of new initiatives popping up at organizations like the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that harm U.S. competitiveness and jobs. These types of activities not only overshadow the many positive initiatives that engage manufacturers, but also can directly hamstring exports through policies ranging from recommended taxes and tariffs that are not based on sound science, to policy attacks on innovation and intellectual property. Though many of these policies are nonbinding, they are being adopted by member countries based on direct lobbying from their supporters.

Now more than ever, we need strong U.S. leadership and engagement at every level of every international organization to which the United States belongs. While some of the activities at these global institutions advance U.S. interests to address global challenges, many others do not. Manufacturers and voters are demanding greater accountability, transparency, and reforms at these institutions to ensure that they are mission focused and that any misguided activities that harm manufacturing in America are swiftly extinguished. Public opinion also shows a clear mandate for President Trump and his administration to push for these reforms at the United Nations and other global organizations.

Manufacturers are committed to U.S. government leadership at home and abroad to ensure that both domestic and international activities are ones that promote opportunities and jobs.  Such leadership is the only way to promote U.S. interests in markets around the world, to keep international organizations focused on outcomes that best promote global goals, and to ensure that manufacturers are able to compete fairly across the globe.