Candidates Getting Distracted From Economy? (CNBC Squawk Box)

This morning, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons provided a read on U.S. manufacturing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” and discussed what manufacturers need to hear from presidential candidates.


On the Candidates

“We are hearing a lot from the candidates that is not related to growing a good business and manufacturing economy, focusing on issues and personalities that really have nothing to do with growth. But what we want to hear is a discussion about tax policy, trade policy, a robust discussion about infrastructure and investments.”

Manufacturing is the solution—for the economy and for the United States. Manufacturers offer good-paying jobs, are highly innovative using and creating technology and products that are changing this world and strengthening the communities we serve.

On Trade

Timmons went on to explain the importance of a strong trade policy, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a full quorum at the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, and highlighted the negative rhetoric coming from the campaigns on trade.

“We hear about trade in the campaigns in a very negative way, which is so unfortunate because if you think about customers, the people you are trying to sell our products to, 19 out of 20 of them live outside the United States. We want to be able to access those customers. And what the candidates are talking about doing is really very draconian.”

On the Ex-Im Bank

Manufacturers recognize what living in a global economy really means. Other countries want to eat our lunch and are working hard to create better business environments, making it harder for us to compete. Leveling the playing field and securing new markets are manufacturers’ top trade priorities, but we need candidates and leaders in Washington to do their part.

“We need to take care of the fundamentals of trade policy like the Ex-Im Bank, which is left in a frustrating state with the Senate because of the appointment process. This populist rhetoric that has taken off is very destructive to our economy and to who we are as a country.

“The Ex-Im Bank has been in existence for over 80 years and has done great work to expand export markets for U.S. products around the world. We are competing with 70 other countries that have export credit agencies of their own. And now we have politicians saying we don’t need this anymore. That is absolutely preposterous.”

For manufacturers, trade is an opportunity to access the 95 percent of customers who live outside the United States, and we need every tool available to compete on a level playing field.

On Comprehensive Tax Reform

Timmons also highlighted the need for comprehensive tax reform and the disadvantaged position our current tax system puts manufacturers.

“We need to have a tax policy that is going to incent investment and job creation in this country. Tax policies are clearly a problem—we have the highest corporate tax policy rate in America. We have small manufacturers that are paying at individual rates—some of the highest rates in the history of our country. Taxes are certainly draining the ability of our businesses to invest in this country.”

For manufacturers, the cost of business is continually rising, the regulatory burden growing, and health care prices are not waning. Timmons connected the dots with these manufacturing challenges, highlighted the inaction in Washington and the campaign trail and discussed how this is a negative drain on manufacturers’ ability to compete, thrive and grow the economy.

To watch the full segment, click here.