Global Manufacturing Economic Update: April 2018

A Publication of the National Association of Manufacturers

MONDAY ECONOMIC REPORTNAM/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufactures Business Outlook by Quarter, 2012-2014

The global economy remains robust, even as many of the data points showed signs of softening in March. For its part, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said that worldwide real GDP growth should rise from 3.7 percent in 2017 to 3.9 percent in both 2018 and 2019, according to its interim outlook in March. That reflects slight improvements from the OECD’s prediction in December. More importantly, it cited healthy gains in business and consumer confidence, employment, investment and global trade volumes, especially as the economic outlook has continued to strengthen. With that said, policy uncertainties have escalated, and pricing pressures have started to accelerate. This could make the process of normalization by central banks more difficult.

In the latest data, the global economy has shown signs of softening, even as the manufacturing sector remains healthy overall, especially relative to the headwinds that were pervasive a few years ago. Along those lines, the J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI decreased from 54.1 in February to 53.4 in March, the lowest level since October. The hiring pace pulled back marginally from the gain in February, which was the best since March 2011. Input prices decelerated slightly in March, but that index has been at least 60—signifying robust growth—for seven consecutive months. Despite the easing in other measures, manufacturing leaders remain very upbeat in their global outlook for the next six months, with that index at a level not seen since February 2015.

In March, all but one of the top-20 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods expanded, illustrating the strength of the international economy once again. (There is no manufacturing PMI for comparison purposes for Belgium, which is our 12th-largest trading partner.) The lone market in contraction was South Korea, which has been weak for much of the past year, particularly as the economy has grappled with political uncertainties.

For its parts, U.S.-manufactured goods exports rebounded strongly in 2017—a nice turnaround after global economic weaknesses in the two prior years—and a trend that has continued into 2018. U.S.-manufactured goods exports totaled $175.22 billion in January and February of this year, up 4.99 percent from the year-to-date total of $166.89 billion in 2017. Moreover, U.S.-manufactured goods to our top-two trading partners—Canada and Mexico—also improved through the first two months of this year relative to last year. In general, trade volumes have risen significantly over the past year as the overall health of the global economy has strengthened. Nonetheless, the U.S. trade deficit rose from $56.67 billion in January to $57.59 billion in February, the highest level since October 2008, as the gain in goods imports outstripped the increase in goods exports.

In addition to improvements in the global economy, the weaker dollar in 2017 helped to spur more export growth, which benefited manufacturers in the United States. In fact, the trade-weighted U.S. dollar index against major currencies has declined 9.9 percent since the end of 2016. Yet, more recently, the U.S. dollar has trended higher, up 1.9 percent since January 25. In addition, the dollar continues to be stronger relative to where it was on June 30, 2014, up 13.8 percent since then.

Talks to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are seeking to conclude in the coming weeks, with trade ministers participating in ongoing discussions. The administration is moving forward on proposed tariffs and other measures to address intellectual property (IP) theft and other challenges in U.S.–China commercial relations and has modified actions with respect to steel and aluminum tariffs. The Trump administration has sought the renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and Congress has reauthorized the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. Manufacturers are still pushing for passage of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB).

Chad Moutray, Ph.D., CBE
Chief Economist
National Association of Manufacturers

Global Economic and Trade Trends

While continuing to expand modestly overall, the global economy slowed somewhat in March.
The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI decreased from 54.1 in February to 53.4 in March, the lowest level since October. In March, worldwide manufacturing activity mostly softened across the board, including weaker expansions for new orders (down from 55.0 to 53.9), output (down from 54.8 to 53.5), exports (down from 53.1 to 51.8) and employment (down from 53.1 to 52.3). The hiring pace pulled back marginally from the gain in February, which was the best since March 2011. Input prices decelerated slightly in March (down from 60.7 to 60.0), but that index has been at least 60—signifying robust growth—for seven consecutive months. Despite the easing in other measures, manufacturing leaders remain very upbeat in their global outlook for the next six months (up from 64.8 to 65.0), with that index at a level not seen since February 2015.

In March, all but one of the top-20 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods expanded, illustrating the strength of the international economy once again. (There is no manufacturing PMI for comparison purposes for Belgium, which is our 12th-largest trading partner.) The lone market in contraction was South Korea (down from 50.3 to 49.1). South Korean manufacturing activity has been weak for much of the past year, particularly as the economy has grappled with political uncertainties.

As has been the case for several months, Europe once again dominated the list of top export markets with strong manufacturing growth. This included solid—but decelerating—expansions in the Netherlands (down from 63.4 to 61.5), Switzerland (down from 65.5 to 60.3) and Germany (down from 60.6 to 58.2).

The U.S. dollar has trended higher over the past few weeks, up 1.9 percent since January 25.
The trade-weighted U.S. dollar index against major currencies from the Federal Reserve Board has risen from 84.6338 on January 25—the lowest level since December 18, 2014—to 86.2667 on April 6. This index reflects currency units per U.S. dollar, suggesting that the dollar can now purchase somewhat more than it could before. The index registered 75.7513 on June 30, 2014, illustrating the dollar’s continued strength, up 13.8 percent over that time frame. With that said, one of the most significant stories last year was the depreciating U.S. dollar. Since the end of 2016, it has declined 9.9 percent against major currencies. The weaker dollar in 2017 helped to spur more export growth, which benefited manufacturers in the United States.

U.S.-manufactured goods exports rebounded strongly in 2017—a nice turnaround after global economic weaknesses in the two prior years—and a trend that has continued into 2018.
U.S.-manufactured goods exports totaled $175.22 billion in January and February of this year, up 4.99 percent from the year-to-date total of $166.89 billion in 2017. In addition, U.S.-manufactured goods to our top-two trading partners also improved through the first two months of this year relative to last year: Canada (up from $42.01 billion to $46.10 billion) and Mexico (up from $37.68 billion to $42.03 billion).

In addition, trade volumes have risen significantly over the past year as the overall health of the global economy has strengthened. Goods exports have increased from $127.63 billion in February 2017 to $137.18 billion in the latest figures, up 7.5 percent over the past 12 months. Goods imports jumped 11.0 percent year-over-year, up from $192.94 billion to $214.19 billion. Nonetheless, the U.S. trade deficit rose from $56.67 billion in January to $57.59 billion in February, the highest level since October 2008, as the gain in goods imports outstripped the increase in goods exports.

After notching an all-time high in December’s survey, Eurozone manufacturing activity expanded at the weakest pace since July. Still, Europe remains a bright spot, even with slower growth.
The IHS Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI has fallen from 60.6 in December—the best reading since the survey began in June 1997—to 56.6 in March. The underlying data decreased across the board but continued to reflect healthy gains, including new orders (down from 58.0 to 55.5), output (down from 59.6 to 55.9), exports (down from 57.0 to 54.8) and hiring (down from 57.4 to 56.2). The index for future output eased for the second straight month (down from 67.1 to 65.0) from January’s reading (68.2), which was the highest since the question was added in July 2012, but remained very promising for production over the next six months.

Much like the headline Eurozone number, many of the country-by-country indices saw multi-month lows, but as noted earlier, Europe continued to have some of the strongest PMI readings globally, even with softer growth in March. This included Austria (down from 59.2 to 58.0), France (down from 55.9 to 53.7), Germany (down from 60.6 to 58.2), Greece (down from 56.1 to 55.0—easing from the best reading since June 2000), Ireland (down from 56.2 to 54.1), Italy (down from 56.8 to 55.1), the Netherlands (down from 63.4 to 61.5—pulling back from an all-time high), Spain (down from 56.0 to 54.8) and Switzerland (down from 65.5 to 60.3). On the positive side, manufacturers in the United Kingdom reported a slight uptick in activity in March (up from 55.0 to 55.1), led by accelerated production. In addition, employment growth in Greece rose to the highest point in the survey’s nearly 19-year history.

Real GDP in the Eurozone rose 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter, with 2.7 percent growth year-over-year. This matched the pace in the third quarter, which was the fastest since the first quarter of 2011. New industrial production data for February will be released on April 13, which it is hoped will show a rebound after being down 1.0 percent in January. Nonetheless, even with a weak January figure, industrial production has risen 2.7 percent over the past 12 months, reflecting progress over the past year. For its part, retail sales inched up 0.1 percent in February, with year-over-year growth of 1.8 percent. The unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in February, the lowest level since December 2008.

Canadian manufacturers reported continuing growth in activity.
The IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing PMI edged up from 55.6 in February to 55.7 in March. The latest survey continues to be consistent with improvements in the economy that began last year as the energy market stabilized, and yet, the underlying data in March provided mixed results. Output picked up slightly (up from 54.8 to 55.0), whereas new orders maintained a relatively healthy expansion rate (unchanged at 55.6). At the same time, exports pulled back from February’s pace (down from 54.4 to 52.5), which had been the fastest since November 2014, with employment (down from 56.0 to 55.7) and future output (down from 67.9 to 65.2) decelerating somewhat as well. The regional data also varied. Quebec (up from 54.0 to 55.0) and the rest of Canada (up from 52.7 to 54.3) saw improvements in activity in March, but growth softened in both Alberta and British Columbia (down from 58.3 to 57.5) and Ontario (down from 55.2 to 54.7).

Real GDP grew 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, which translated into 1.7 percent growth at the annual rate, up from 1.5 percent in the third quarter. Consumer and business spending and exports were the primary drivers of growth in the fourth quarter, with drags from inventories and imports. Nonetheless, manufacturing sales declined 1.0 percent in January, off for the second straight month, mostly on reduced aerospace, motor vehicles and primary metals demand. Even with recent weakness, manufactured goods sales have increased by a modest 2.9 percent year-over-year. More positively, retail spending rose 0.3 percent in January, with Canadians spending 3.6 percent more over the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate registered 5.8 percent in March, remaining the lowest rate since comparable data became available in January 1976. Nonetheless, while the Canadian manufacturing sector lost 8,300 workers on net in March, it has added 41,200 employees over the past 12 months.

Mexican manufacturing activity expanded for the fifth straight month but was softer than desired once again.
The IHS Markit Mexico Manufacturing PMI increased from 51.6 in February to 52.4 in March. Most of the key measures rose in the latest survey, including new orders (up from 52.0 to 53.9), output (up from 51.2 to 51.7), exports (up from 49.8 to 51.5) and employment (up from 51.7 to 52.4). Exports bounced back from the first contraction in February since July. The index for future output slowed in March to the lowest level since January 2017 (down from 65.9 to 62.4). On the one hand, this reflects optimism that production should expand strongly over the next six months; yet, it is also clear that sentiment has softened over the past few months.

Overall, Mexico continued to underperform. Along those lines, real GDP decelerated from 1.6 percent year-over-year in the third quarter to 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter, the slowest growth rate in four years. Industrial production rose 0.7 percent year-over-year in February, growing for the second straight month after declining in the four prior months. Manufacturing production has risen 0.9 percent over the past year, which continues to be weaker than desired. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked down from 3.4 percent in January to 3.2 percent in February. This was slightly higher than December’s pace, which was the lowest rate since December 2007.

Chinese manufacturers reported their slowest growth in four months in March.
The Caixin China General Manufacturing PMI eased from 51.6 in February to 51.0 in March, the slowest growth rate since November. Most of the underlying indices weakened in the latest survey, including new orders (down from 52.8 to 52.1), output (down from 52.4 to 51.4) and exports (down from 52.0 to 50.8). Net hiring has contracted every month since October 2013 (down from 48.9 to 48.5), with that measure declining in March at the fastest rate since August. On a more encouraging note, future output accelerated in March to the best reading in one year (up from 57.8 to 59.1). This would indicate optimism about production over the next six months despite the slowing in the current environment. 

Separately, the official manufacturing PMI from the National Bureau of Statistics of China increased, up from 50.3 in February to 51.5 in March, ending three straight monthly pullbacks in activity. It was the best reading since November, even as growth remained very modest. Expansions strengthened for larger firms, with small and medium-sized manufacturers seeing growth barely above neutral.  

The Chinese economy grew 6.8 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, the same rate as in the third quarter. For the year, Chinese real GDP rose 6.9 percent, which was better than expected. In January and February, industrial production accelerated strongly, up from 6.2 percent year-over-year to 7.2 percent, the strongest reading since June. New data on industrial production for March will be released on April 17. Similarly, fixed asset investment (up from 7.2 percent year-over-year to 7.9 percent) and retail sales (up from 9.4 percent year-over-year to 9.7 percent) also improved notably in January and February.

Japanese manufacturing activity eased to a five-month low in March.
The Nikkei Japan Manufacturing PMI slowed from 54.1 in February to 53.1 in March, the lowest level since October. Most of the key variables decelerated in March, including new orders (down from 54.7 to 53.1), output (down from 53.4 to 52.2), future output (down from 59.5 to 58.0), exports (down from 54.1 to 52.5) and employment (down from 54.2 to 52.9). Even with some softness, the data are consistent with modest growth, both in March and for what is expected over the next six months. Input prices were the lone index to accelerate in the latest survey (up from 58.5 to 58.9), mirroring the pickup in raw material costs in other data.

Real GDP increased just 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 0.6 percent growth in the third quarter and the weakest quarter in two years. That translated into 1.5 percent year-over-year growth in real GDP in the fourth quarter, off from 1.9 percent in the third quarter. Residential investment and government spending provided drags on real GDP at the end of 2017, with consumer and business spending and trade being positives. Meanwhile, industrial production rebounded, up 4.1 percent in February after falling 6.8 percent in January. Over the past year, output has risen a modest 1.4 percent, which is rather subpar.

Manufacturing activity in the emerging markets also slowed to the weakest pace in five months.
The IHS Markit Emerging Markets Manufacturing Index dropped from 51.9 in February to 51.3 in March, pulling back once again from December’s pace, which was the best rate since January 2013. Nonetheless, the data mostly continue to show improvements in emerging market economies overall, even if sentiment has slipped in the past few months. In March, most of the data points decreased, including new orders (down from 53.0 to 52.2), output (down from 52.9 to 52.0), exports (down from 51.6 to 50.6) and employment (down from 50.1 to 49.5). The hiring measure contracted for the first time since November. More favorably, the index for future output inched higher (up from 63.0 to 63.3), rising to the best reading in 12 months, with manufacturers upbeat about production growth moving forward in the emerging markets.

On a country-by-country basis, momentum in the manufacturing sectors increased in Kenya (up from 54.7 to 55.7—the best pace since January 2016), Myanmar (up from 52.6 to 53.7—the best pace since the survey began in December 2015) and Nigeria (up from 56.0 to 58.8—the best pace since the survey began in January 2014). In addition, manufacturers reported better growth in Brazil (up from 53.2 to 53.4), the Philippines (up from 50.8 to 51.5) and Russia (up from 50.2 to 50.6), with activity unchanged in Poland (53.7). At the same time, several markets continued to expand despite some easing in March, including China (down from 51.6 to 51.0), the Czech Republic (down from 58.8 to 57.3), Hong Kong (down from 51.7 to 50.6), India (down from 52.1 to 51.0), Saudi Arabia (down from 53.2 to 52.8), South Africa (down from 51.4 to 51.1), Taiwan (down from 56.0 to 55.3), the United Arab Emirates (down from 55.1 to 54.8) and Vietnam (down from 53.5 to 51.6).  

As noted earlier, South Korea contracted once again in March (down from 50.3 to 49.1), as the country struggles to gain some traction following political and economic challenges that were pervasive last year. Other emerging markets that remain troubled in the latest data include Egypt (down from 49.7 to 49.2), Lebanon (down from 47.3 to 46.5) and Malaysia (down from 49.9 to 49.5). 

International Trade Policy Trends

United States, Canada and Mexico engage in ongoing NAFTA negotiations, may seek “agreement in principle” by late April or early May.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo met in Washington April 5–6 to discuss the way forward for the NAFTA negotiations, including on the issue of automotive rules of origin. The U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiating teams are continuing to meet on an ongoing basis in the weeks ahead, and some are seeking to conclude an “agreement in principle” by late April or early May. Consistent with the NAM’s NAFTA paper and our detailed recommendations for modernization, the NAM continues to communicate directly with senior officials throughout the administration and on Capitol Hill regarding the NAM’s priorities and issues of concern. On Wednesday, April 11, BTE Technologies President and NAM Executive Committee member Chuck Wetherington testified before the House Small Business Committee on the importance of a positive NAFTA outcome as a key priority for small business manufacturers. For more information, contact NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey and NAM Director of International Trade Policy Ken Monahan.

U.S., China announce tariffs in 301 investigation; NAM calls for strategic approach to China and a modern, enforceable trade agreement.
On March 22,President Donald Trump signed an executive order announcing a package of trade remedies against China based on findings from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Section 301 investigation against Chinese IP theft and forced technology transfer. USTR’s package of remedies includes action to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of imports from China, as well as plans to restrict Chinese investment in U.S. high-tech industries and to file a World Trade Organization (WTO) case against discriminatory licensing practices. The proposed U.S. tariff list, which was released on April 3 for a 50-day comment period, included 1,300 products that USTR states “benefit from Chinese industrial policies,” with a focus on manufactured products in sectors such as chemicals, metals and metal products, rubber products, health products and transportation equipment. On April 4, China responded by proposing 25 percent retaliatory tariffs on $50 billion of U.S. exports to China and China’s April 5 filing of a WTO case challenging USTR’s 301 tariffs. The NAM’s unofficial translation of the Chinese tariff list is found here. On April 6, President Trump announced possible tariffs on an additional $100 billion in imports from China.

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons weighed in directly on both the Trump administration’s initial announcement of measures to address Chinese IP theft and its proposed tariff list, praising the focus on tackling harmful Chinese IP theft but urging caution on tariffs given the potential impacts on manufacturers in the United States. Timmons argued that real progress depends on a “strategic approach that uses both carrots and sticks to accelerate changes to Chinese policies, which should include efforts to forge a fair, binding and enforceable trade agreement with China that requires them to end these practices once and for all.” The NAM, in line with its September 2017 submission  for the Section 301 investigation and March 2018 testimony on global IP priorities, is actively seeking member input on the tariffs. On April 11, NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey also discussed the market access challenges in China before the Senate Committee on Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, urging action to seize the moment to negotiate a new comprehensive agreement with China to address the many market-distorting practices faced by manufacturers in the United States. For more information on these issues or to provide feedback, contact Dempsey and NAM Director of International Business Policy Ryan Ong.

The United States and South Korea reach agreement in principle on updates to KORUS FTA and Section 232 tariffs.
On March 28, Ambassador Lighthizer and Republic of Korea Minister for Trade Hyun Chong Kim released a joint statement on an agreement in principle on the general terms of amendments and modifications to the U.S.–Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). The language of the agreement has not been made public, but USTR released a short fact sheet that provides an overview of the deal, including with respect to U.S. truck tariffs, market access and regulatory barriers faced by U.S. auto exports to Korea, customs verification procedures, pharmaceutical reimbursements and currency. Reports in the Korean press also indicate there was some language agreed upon regarding investor-state dispute settlement, including limiting frivolous claims and confirming that governments still had the ability to undertake public policy measures. In addition, the United States and South Korea agreed to a negotiated settlement relating to the Section 232 steel investigation, under which Korea would be exempted from steel tariffs, but be subject to a product-specific quota equivalent to 70 percent of the average annual import volume of steel products during the 2015–2017 period. The KORUS FTA has been important to improve the competitiveness of many manufacturers throughout the United States by eliminating barriers, raising standards and ensuring strong enforcement. The NAM, in close coordination with our members, continues to work to ensure full implementation of all parts of the agreement and to promote even greater manufacturing opportunities through the U.S.–Korea commercial relationship. For more information, contact NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey and NAM Director of International Trade Policy Ken Monahan.

Manufacturers continue to urge action on the MTB as early as possible this year.
The NAM continues to lead industry efforts to urge Senate passage of the MTB as quickly as possible in 2018, following passage by the House of Representatives on January 16 of the NAM-backed MTB Act of 2018 by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 402–0. The MTB Act of 2018 would eliminate unfair, out-of-date, distortive and anticompetitive taxes of more than $1.1 billion over the next three years and boost U.S. manufacturing output by more than $3.1 billion. For more information, contact NAM Director of International Trade Policy Ken Monahan.

President temporarily suspends some countries from Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs; Commerce Department sets forth product exclusion process.
On March 22, President Trump announced adjustments to steel and aluminum tariffs to temporarily exempt imports from designated countries until May 1, marking a change from proclamations that had been issued in March—see initial notices on steel (Proclamation 9705) and aluminum (Proclamation 9704)—under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Specifically, the president exempted from the Section 232 tariffs all imports of steel and aluminum from the countries of the European Union, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Korea until May 1. The proclamations also modify the original exemptions for Canada and Mexico, subjecting them to the May 1 deadline. As noted above, USTR has negotiated a quota agreement with Korea and is discussing similar agreements with the other suspended countries. Earlier in March, the Commerce Department released the interim final rule and details for the process to request and object to product exclusions related to the Section 232 proclamations imposing 25 percent ad valorem tariffs on covered steel imports and 10 percent ad valorem tariffs on covered aluminum imports. The Commerce Department exclusion process covers products “determined not to be produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality or based upon specific national security considerations.” For more information, contact NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey.

President requests TPA, submits mandated report.
President Trump on March 20 made his formal request to Congress to extend TPA, the congressional-executive trade negotiation framework most recently passed in 2015. If not disapproved by either the House of Representatives or the Senate, the request would extend TPA procedures for three years beyond the current June 30 expiration. As required under extension procedures, the administration also submitted this report to describe trade agreements negotiated under TPA procedures and the anticipated schedule for submitting agreements to Congress for approval, describe progress made in those negotiations to achieve TPA objectives and state reasons why the extension is needed to complete ongoing negotiations. That report includes language on specific negotiations as well, including NAFTA work through the WTO to address areas such as digital trade, agriculture and fisheries and goals to negotiate agreements with the United Kingdom, Asian countries that are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other options. The report, released as KORUS FTA talks were wrapping up, made no mention of that agreement. For more information, contact NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey and NAM Director of International Trade Policy Ken Monahan.

USTR releases “2018 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers.”
On March 30, USTR released its longstanding annual report on international trade barriers around the world. This year’s report, which builds on President Trump’s “2018 Trade Policy Agenda,” highlights trade barriers in China, Indonesia, Russia, Japan and the European Union as well as nearly 60 other markets around the world. The report reflects USTR’s strong focus on “tough” trade enforcement and use of “every available tool to ensure Americans are treated fairly,” highlighting many issues that the NAM highlighted in its October 2017 comments, such as import tariffs, export subsidies and limitations, discriminatory localization policies, lack of IP protection, technical barriers to trade, investment restrictions and digital trade. Included with the release is also a series of fact sheets, including a summary of the biggest developments highlighted in the report, a fact sheet on technical barriers to trade, a fact sheet on sanitary and phytosanitary issues and a fact sheet on digital trade barriers. For more information about this report and the NAM’s efforts to highlight trade barriers that are impacting manufacturers in the United States, contact NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey and NAM Director of International Business Policy Ryan Ong.

Omnibus legislation extends, modifies the GSP program.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, signed by President Trump on March 23, extends the GSP program, which eliminates tariffs on goods imported from developing countries. The extension allows GSP coverage through December 31, 2020, and provides for retroactive reimbursement of duties paid between GSP’s expiration (December 31, 2017) and the April 22 effective date for the renewal of GSP (click here for more information from U.S. Customs and Border Protection about reimbursement requests). Language in the omnibus bill also modifies the procedures for imposing competitive need limitations that set quantitative ceilings on the GSP benefits for each product imported by individual beneficiary countries and requires USTR to submit annual reports to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees on efforts to ensure that GSP beneficiary countries are meeting eligibility criteria under the GSP program. For more information about this report and the NAM’s efforts to highlight trade barriers that are impacting manufacturers in the United States, contact NAM Director of International Trade Policy Ken Monahan.

Exports in Action

Discover Global Markets
April 30 – May 2
Kansas City, Missouri
Join the U.S. Commercial Service and the Mid-America District Export Council for Discover Global Markets: Design + Construct, a dynamic conference bringing together global leaders in the design and construction sectors. The conference will feature presentations on global construction opportunities as well as prescreened matchmaking and networking sessions to build new business and partnerships. Attendees will include international executives, sales and marketing professionals, project owners, developers, architects, engineers and construction firms. For more information, click here.

South Africa Smart Cities RTM
May 1–10
Silicon Valley, California
The USTDA is hosting the South Africa Smart Cities RTM. This visit will bring representatives from South Africa’s information and communications technology sector to the United States to introduce them to U.S. telecommunications technologies and services that can support the country’s smart cities development goals. The delegation will include representatives from seven municipalities in South Africa. As part of the itinerary, the delegation will participate in the Smart Cities New York 2018, a conference featuring experts from across the field and a discussion of best practices. This visit will provide opportunities for U.S. companies to meet with and showcase their solutions and equipment to the delegation and learn about upcoming project opportunities. As part of the itinerary, the USTDA will host a business briefing in San Mateo, California, on May 4. The Business Council for International Understanding is organizing this event. For more information about how your company can participate, contact Nina Kundra.

Brazil Airport Security Technologies RTM
May 6–11
Washington, D.C.
The USTDA is hosting the Brazil Airport Security Technologies RTM. This visit will bring airport decision-makers from Brazil to the United States to introduce them to U.S. aviation sector technologies and best practices. This itinerary will provide opportunities for U.S. companies to meet with and showcase their solutions and equipment to the delegation and learn about upcoming project opportunities in Brazil’s aviation sector. As part of the itinerary, the USTDA will host a business roundtable in Washington, D.C., on May 8. Futron Aviation is organizing this event. For more information about how your company can participate, contact Ken Neubauer or call (757) 269-9909.

U.S.–India Aviation Summit
May 9–11
Mumbai, India
In collaboration with the U.S.–India Aviation Cooperation Program and the Government of India, the USTDA is hosting the 6th U.S.–India Aviation Summit in Mumbai, India. This event will convene senior representatives from the public and private sectors in both countries to identify opportunities to advance the robust aviation partnership between India and the United States. The two-day summit will promote high-level dialogue on bilateral aviation issues and will provide a forum to identify solutions that support the rapid growth of India’s aviation sector. The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) is organizing this visit on behalf of the USTDA. For more information, contact Spencer Dickerson, executive director of the AAAE, by email or phone at (703) 824-0500.

Coal-Fired Power Emissions Control Technologies RTM for India, Indonesia and Vietnam
May 14–23, 2018
Washington, D.C.
The USTDA will host a Coal-Fired Power Emissions Control Technologies RTM to bring public officials and coal plant operators from India, Indonesia and Vietnam to the United States for meetings with U.S. businesses. As Asian countries are expected to account for the largest growth in coal demand through 2021, these countries are exploring their options for improving air quality while balancing growing energy demands. Through this visit, delegates will participate in meetings with U.S. suppliers of SOx, NOx, VOC, mercury and particulate matter controls and will meet with industry associations and government agencies. The delegation will also attend site visits to U.S. coal-fired power plants using these technologies. The agenda will include a business briefing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 17. The Eastern Research Group is organizing this event. For more information about how your company or organization can participate, contact David Sellers or call (434) 979-0218.

2018 U.S.–China Aviation Symposium
July 17–20
Beijing, China
The USTDA is sponsoring the 2018 U.S.–China Aviation Symposium, along with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and the U.S.–China Aviation Cooperation Program. This event will allow industry leaders and U.S. government officials to engage in a high-level forum to enhance the U.S. and China’s partnership in the aviation sector. Corporations attending this symposium will have the opportunity to learn about emerging issues in the industry, engage with senior CAAC leaders and learn about commercial opportunities in China’s aviation sector. The three-day symposium will include a plenary session, workshops and networking opportunities, as well as site visits in or around Beijing. The AAAE is organizing this event on behalf of the USTDA. For more information, contact Spencer Dickerson, executive director of the AAAE, by email or phone at (703) 578-2411.

Oil and Gas Trade Mission to Brazil
September 19–21
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration is organizing the Oil and Gas Trade Mission to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 19–21. The trade mission offers a timely and cost-effective means for U.S. firms to engage with key stakeholders and enter the promising Brazilian market for oil and gas equipment, technology and services. The delegation will include 10–15 U.S. firms, representing a cross-section of U.S. oil and gas segments that have developed products and services for offshore (deep water), onshore and general exploration and production activities. Operators and representatives of trade associations may also apply. Recently, Brazil’s government lowered local content requirements for the 2017 oil and gas auctions, making new projects more attractive to foreign suppliers. For more information, contact Victoria Yue or call (202) 482-3492. Application deadline is July 30.

For a listing of upcoming USTDA missions, click here.

For a listing of upcoming Commerce Department trade missions, click here..

Questions or Comments?

Contact Chief Economist Chad Moutray at cmoutray@nam.org.

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