Regulatory and Legal Reform

Unnecessary regulations and excessive red tape prevent us from reaching new levels of achievement and make it harder for small businesses to compete. We need regulatory and legal reforms that unleash our industry and supports the work of men and women nationwide.

Business Operations

SCOTUS Protects LGBT Workers’ Rights

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The United States Supreme Court Building at sunset in Washington DC, USA.

The Supreme Court ruled today that civil rights law protects employees from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity, reports the Wall Street Journal (subscription).

The ruling: “The high court, in a 6-3 decision, said the broad language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, should be read to cover sexual orientation as well.”

  • “Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts in addition to the four more liberal members of the court.”

Here’s the legal reasoning behind it:

  • “[The] case was simple, Justice Gorsuch found. He focused on the text of the statute Congress passed in 1964, forbidding workplace discrimination against an individual ‘because of…sex.’”
  • “There was no getting around it, he said: ‘An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it wouldn’t have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.’”

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons welcomed the news and said in a statement:

  • “This ruling, one of the most consequential since Obergefell, not only sends a powerful message of inclusion and equality to millions of Americans but also affirms that LGBT Americans cannot be fired just for being their authentic selves as work.
  • “Too many LGBT Americans go to work every day hiding who they are or whom they love because they believe that simply living authentically would mean losing their jobs and livelihoods. The Supreme Court has begun to lift that heavy emotional burden and made history by affirming that LGBT workers are entitled to federal protections too.
  • “For our part, manufacturers are committed to building diverse and inclusive workplaces, a mission that has taken on renewed importance in recent weeks. We will continue to be advocates for equal opportunity and champions for justice—because ultimately we know that diversity and inclusion makes our workplaces stronger, just as it makes our country stronger.”
Press Releases

Manufacturers Call on Iowa Policymakers to Protect Industry

Des Moines, IA / Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, June 9, Iowa Association of Business and Industry President Mike Ralston and National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons called for thoughtful liability protections to ensure the manufacturing industry can continue to drive the renewal of America’s economy. The organizations support policymakers’ efforts in Des Moines and Washington, D.C., to protect manufacturers from baseless bad-faith COVID-19 lawsuits.

In April, the NAM released its “American Renewal Action Plan,” which provides a comprehensive list of policy recommendations to guide the country through the stages of response, recovery and renewal. This plan includes a comprehensive set of pandemic liability policy recommendations.

“Everyone wants to get the economy open in a way that protects Americans’ health and well-being, which is why manufacturers have been leading the way to protect their workplaces and safeguard employees. Throughout this crisis, manufacturers have been working to do the right thing, providing vital supplies and essential products. Letting manufacturers now become the target of inappropriate lawsuits will stall our economic recovery,” said Timmons. “Iowa leaders can prevent this. Smart liability protections will ensure manufacturers can continue leading—and get more Iowans back to work.”

“Iowa manufacturers and their employees have been hard at work throughout this pandemic, doing all they can to keep themselves and Iowans healthy and to keep the economy moving.  To now have them be the victims of improper legal action is simply wrong. ABI calls on Iowa legislators to act on this issue important to manufacturers and all Iowa businesses,” said Ralston.

More information can be found at https://nam.org/liability.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 11.7 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

-ABI-

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) has been the voice of Iowa business since 1903. Its mission is to provide a strong, unified voice to business and industry on issues affecting Iowa employers. ABI is comprised of 1,500 member companies of all types and sizes in all 99 counties employing more than 330,000 Iowans.

Press Releases

NAM Survey: Manufacturers Face Major Headwinds, but Continue Operating in Support of COVID-19 Response

Despite Drop in Optimism and Worsening Business Conditions, Majority of Industry Keeping Doors Open

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers today released the results of the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2020 showing that despite a historic drop in optimism, to nearly 34%, and challenging business conditions, the vast majority of manufacturers (98.7%) have continued or only temporarily halted operations. The survey also shows that manufacturers are innovating to find solutions to keep businesses running and to protect workers and communities, with almost 22% retooling to produce personal protective equipment, 67% reengineering processes to reflect COVID-19 safety protocols and 12% completely reevaluating the mission of the firm.

Manufacturers have led the country through the COVID-19 response, and America is counting on our industry to lead our recovery and renewal, said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. While these numbers show that we’ve faced difficult circumstances and that there is a challenging road ahead, manufacturers have proven that with our grit, determination and patriotic spirit, we can overcome any challenge facing the nation. And in our ‘American Renewal Action Plan,’ the NAM has shown the way forward.

As policymakers and regulators debate solutions to help the economy recover from this pandemic, the NAM urges them to focus on the renewal agenda laid out in the “American Renewal Action Plan.” We have been encouraged by actions taken thus far, but there is still greater need for targeted liability reform, tax provisions to ensure investment in manufacturing and measures to reaffirm the U.S. supply chain to protect those businesses that continue to work on the front lines of the COVID-19 response to ensure as swift a recovery as possible.

The Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey has surveyed the association’s membership of 14,000 large and small manufacturers on a quarterly basis since 1997 to gain insight into their economic outlook, hiring and investment decisions and business concerns. The NAM releases the results to the public each quarter. Further information on the survey is available here.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 11.5 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Business Operations

Manufacturers Unveil Industry COVID Shared Practices

Manufacturing Leadership Council Releases COVID Operating Practices from Leading Manufacturers

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Manufacturing Leadership Council, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, released a new collection of emerging strategies and operational practices that leading manufacturers of all sizes are implementing to keep their employees safe and facilities operating. The MLC’s “New Operational Practices to Consider in the Time of COVID-19” brings together the best shared practices within the industry to help manufacturers continue to lead the way as America moves from response to recovery and renewal.

“Manufacturers have been on the front lines throughout this crisis, and this guide leverages the experiences and real-world practices that manufacturers across America have put into place. We’re all looking to get back to some sense of normalcy, but that’s not possible unless we can protect manufacturing workers,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “By collecting these practices, the MLC is helping all manufacturers continue to set high standards for protecting employees, families and communities, while creating products essential to our daily lives.”

Shared Practices Breakdown:

  • Site Access to Mitigate Exposure
  • Workstation Measures to Promote Social Distancing
  • Facilities and Traffic Management
  • Shift and Team Design
  • Leave Policies
  • Illness or Diagnosis Response
  • Essential Travel Policies
  • Returning Nonessential Workers

The MLC compiled and shared these practices to assist manufacturers taking steps in their facilities to meet or exceed existing guidelines from the various federal agencies while also mitigating operational and business risks that are outside the scope of such guidance.

“Since this crisis began, the NAM has been working with Vice President Pence and the Coronavirus Task Force, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and others to relay real time information from our industry and to ensure manufacturers received the critical guidance they needed to operate safely,” said NAM COO Todd Boppell. “The MLC has also convened thousands of manufacturing leaders to share practices and develop new ideas for operating safely through this crisis. Manufacturers have come together to help each other and to help our country.”

This information is not meant as authoritative legal, medical or regulatory guidance or advice. It is not an exhaustive list of operational practices in the COVID-19 environment but rather represents some of the most common “best practices” communicated to the National Association of Manufacturers.

To read the full document click here.

-MLC-

The Manufacturing Leadership Council is the world’s first member-driven, business leadership network dedicated to helping senior industry executives identify the opportunities created by transformational digital technologies in the operation, organization, and leadership of manufacturing enterprises as they pursue their journeys to Manufacturing 4.0. For more information visit https://www.manufacturingleadershipcouncil.com/

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.37 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Fight COVID-19 But Face Legal Obstacles

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As COVID-19 affects communities nationwide, manufacturers are taking extraordinary steps to supply the products, including daily essentials and medical supplies, that Americans need. Unfortunately, outdated liability rules might expose these same manufacturers to litigation, creating added risk as they go above and beyond for the COVID-19 response. National Association of Manufacturers General Counsel Linda Kelly explains.

What’s the problem manufacturers face?

Our country needs manufacturers to produce food and critical goods so that most of us can shelter in place and slow the virus’ spread. Our sector has also stepped up in an unprecedented way. For example, NAM members have started to produce masks, gowns and other equipment for use on the front lines, and they didn’t wait around until they had perfect legal certainty before they acted to do the right thing. Some of our members have donated the equipment that they would use to local hospitals.

Unfortunately, even as manufacturers are making sacrifices and performing essential services, unprecedented regulatory uncertainty and rapid changes in the rules make it hard to know what actions could expose manufacturers to unfair litigation. Manufacturers always put the health and wellbeing of employees and families first. So manufacturers are stuck: they’re committed to doing the right thing, but they could also face lawsuits as a result.

What do manufacturers need to solve this problem? 

America’s manufacturers need sensible liability protections for the workplace so our essential workers can continue to combat COVID-19 and help the nation move toward recovery. In an unprecedented time of national need, America’s manufacturers have stepped up to aid those on the front lines with essential equipment and materials and to maintain our way of life. And our elected officials should protect those who, without being asked, did the right thing.

What should those protections look like?

The NAM has developed a list of proposed reforms: commonsense adjustments to help ensure we have enough food on the table, equipment for our hospitals and eventually vaccines and life-saving drugs for our world.

We need protections for the workplace so critical manufacturers can continue to operate. We need to extend Good Samaritan protections to cover those who donate equipment, or who may be producing protective gear or even ventilators and more complicated medical equipment for the first time. We need to bar suits for public nuisance against critical manufacturers, as well as shareholder suits that try to “Monday-morning quarterback” decisions manufacturers have to make every day in the face of tremendous regulatory uncertainty.

Who should these reforms apply to?

These are specific, narrow reforms. They should be limited to critical businesses that operate to serve our country during the crisis, and they should apply only during the emergency and for a “wind-down” period after the declared emergency ends. We need reforms that prevent abuse of our legal system, while at the same time holding any actual bad actors accountable.

This is an unprecedented situation—and we need regulatory certainty that meets the moment.

See the NAM’s pandemic liability policy recommendations.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Release “American Renewal Action Plan”

Timmons: The Nation Is Counting on Manufacturers

Washington, D.C. – To strengthen the nation’s response to COVID-19 and ensure manufacturers are poised to lead the recovery and renewal of the American economy, the National Association of Manufacturers released the “American Renewal Action Plan.”

“Our industry has been on the front lines throughout this crisis, providing the equipment and products to keep our country safe, healthy and fed. The nation is counting on us to continue to play a leading role in this effort, and lawmakers must equip us with the tools we need,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. Timmons, a member of the White House’s COVID-19 Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups, added, “The NAM’s ‘American Renewal Action Plan’ is the path forward.”

The recommendations are outlined in three phases—response, recovery and renewal. Some of the key provisions include the following:

  • Response:
    • Congressional and administrative actions to allow manufacturers to further ramp up production and enhance distribution of personal protective equipment to support not only our hospitals, but all sectors of the economy.
  • Recovery:
    • Congressional and administrative actions to ensure that employees are able to go into work confident that proper health precautions are being implemented.
    • Strong and clear legal reforms that protect the essential manufacturers that must remain open to provide vital goods and those that retool their factories to make urgently needed equipment and supplies.
  • Renewal:
    • Significant investment in workforce training programs to aid dislocated workers.
    • Historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure to boost the economy.
    • Key reforms to boost economic and national security by growing the U.S. manufacturing industry.
    • Congressional and administrative actions to expand U.S. exports and strengthen the manufacturing supply chain.
    • The Treasury Department, Small Business Administration and Federal Reserve should speed the delivery of aid to small businesses by addressing key issues related to their new lending facilities.

The NAM released its “COVID-19 Policy Action Plan Recommendations” on March 9 to guide the government’s initial response to the pandemic. The association released an updated and expanded action plan on March 18. Congress and the administration have already adopted many of the proposals.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.37 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

ICYMI: Timmons Discusses Manufacturers’ Response to COVID-19

“We’re All in This Together”

Washington, D.C. – Today, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons briefed members of the media on manufacturers’ response to COVID-19. Timmons detailed the NAM’s coordinated effort with federal, state and local officials to provide COVID-19 supplies and how manufacturers are stepping up to provide key medical supplies and resources to keep Americans safe and healthy.

Timmons also highlighted many NAM priorities included in the Senate-passed stimulus package and reiterated the need for state and local officials to deem the manufacturing supply chain as essential.

“It’s been said that this is like a war. And in World War II, we were the arsenal of democracy. Today, manufacturers are called to arm our health care workers in the battle with this deadly virus,” said Timmons. “But it goes beyond the front lines at the hospital. Our grocery stores must be stocked. Our electricity must keep running. Our devices must keep us connected. Our lives may be socially distant, but life goes on. And that means manufacturers must keep making daily life possible.”

Key Wins in Senate-Passed Stimulus Package:

“The Senate acted boldly and approved its COVID-19 relief bill. We’ve been working for weeks to ensure many of manufacturers’ key priorities were included. The bill also takes key steps from the NAM plan by increasing the maximum amount of tax deductions for interest on business loans and by creating an incentive, through loan forgiveness, for small manufacturers to retain their employees during this crisis. Quite frankly, with 90% of our members being small businesses, I think this is one of the most critical parts of the legislation.”

Manufacturers’ Response to COVID-19:

“Manufacturers are stepping up to supply desperately needed health care equipment, repurpose their facilities, supply the essentials for daily life and keep our employees and communities safe.”

“Take, for example, Marlin Steel in Baltimore, a wire products manufacturer. Last Friday, they received an emergency order to make wire racks for test tubes for COVID-19 testing. They hadn’t made test-tube racks before but volunteered to work all weekend to get it done, and they shipped out by Sunday afternoon. That’s the kind of story we’re hearing over and over across the country, on a large and small scale.” 

Overwhelming Support from Manufacturers in Providing Medical Supplies:

  • A manufacturer provided 75,000 gloves, 3,000 Tyvek suits and nearly 20,000 face masks that were sent to New York City.
  • Another company supplied 225,000 gowns and 224,250 over-the-shoe booties to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • The NAM also helped facilitate one manufacturer’s ability to provide 38 million gloves to FEMA and other critical medical destinations.

Over the past few days, the NAM has seen:

  • 116 companies provide gloves;
  • 106 companies provide protectives units; and
  • 116 companies provide over-the-shoe booties

On the Defense Production Act:

“Manufacturers are producing as much as we possibly can, and whether the DPA is in effect or not, you know, manufacturers aren’t going to be compelled to do the right thing because we already are. That said, if there is a way for DPA to be helpful, for instance… but the fact of the matter is manufacturers are doing everything we can every single day to meet the significant needs for personal protective equipment medical supplies.”

On the Media:

“I want to thank everybody in the media for the crucial role that you’re playing. I realize that these are tough times. I realize that these are times when tempers flare, but there is no more important freedom that we enjoy than the First Amendment to our Constitution, and I want to personally thank you on behalf of the nation’s 13 million manufacturers and their families. I want to thank you for all you do to protect our nation’s freedoms and to get the news and the word out.”

To watch the full video of the remarks, click here.

NAM

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.37 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

Manufacturers’ Survey Reveals Current Industry Impact of COVID-19

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers released the findings of a survey of manufacturing leaders examining the economic and operational impacts of COVID-19. This survey informed the NAM’s “COVID-19 Policy Action Plan Recommendations” released earlier this week, which highlighted key policy areas where legislative and administration action would help combat COVID-19 and future public health emergencies successfully.

Survey highlights include the following:

  • 78.3% of manufacturers anticipate a financial impact
  • 53.1% of manufacturers anticipate a change in operations
  • 35.5% of manufacturers are facing supply chain disruptions

“Already, manufacturers are grappling with disruptions to their businesses due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with many anticipating financial and operational consequences—even before some of the developments of this week. The federal government can take steps to further equip manufacturers to deal with COVID-19 by implementing the NAM’s ‘COVID-19 Policy Action Plan Recommendations,’” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Across the country, manufacturers are stepping up to keep their employees and their communities safe and healthy, and working closely with elected officials, we can ensure the resilience not only of our companies but also our country.”

Read the full survey results here.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.37 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Call for IP Protections to Secure Innovation

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On Wednesday, National Association of Manufacturers Director of International Business Policy Ryan Ong testified before the Special 301 Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee on the global intellectual property challenges and priorities for manufacturers in the United States. While manufacturers have long called for stronger intellectual property protection, Ong’s testimony comes at a time when IP theft has been on the rise; a 2017 report by the Commission on the Theft of Intellectual Property found that stolen ideas, brands and inventions drain up to $600 billion from the U.S. economy—nearly double the amount found just four years previously.

In his testimony, Ong highlighted a growing tide of fake products sold in the United States, which has been estimated to cost the U.S. economy between $29 billion and $41 billion every year. He also detailed sophisticated attempts by bad actors to steal U.S. companies’ trade secrets; one 2014 study estimated that the economic loss from trade secret theft is between $180 billion and $500 billion. In addition, he discussed attempts at international organizations to weaken IP protections in the name of other policy priorities, from public health to environmental protection, and explained how these actions overlook the importance of innovation and create barriers to progress.

“The United States has long made vigorous protection of IP rights at home and abroad a cornerstone of our manufacturing competitiveness, but we must do more in the face of these and other challenges,” said Ong. “It is more critical now than ever before that the United States strongly defend intellectual property and innovation around the world in all available forums.”

Ong’s testimony was accompanied by a full list of recommendations on a country-by-country basis to protect the full scope of threats to manufacturers’ intellectual property.

Manufacturers have recently made important progress on intellectual property protections. For example, the “phase one” trade deal between China and the United States—which was a major victory for manufacturers—included Chinese commitments on trade secret protection, patent protection, trademark issues and judicial enforcement. Still, manufacturers continue to fight for robust support of American innovation.

“Every day, manufacturers across the country are transforming their operations to achieve greater efficiency, productivity and competitiveness while working to create a better tomorrow,” said Ong. “None of that is possible without U.S. leadership, driving strong rules to protect our IP and robust enforcement efforts. The success of our industry—and the strength of our economy—depend on it.”

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Lead Fight Against Counterfeit Goods

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Recently, manufacturers took to Capitol Hill to do their part to combat counterfeit products entering the United States. Counterfeit goods are increasingly prevalent and pose a threat to consumers’ wellbeing and manufacturers’ competitiveness. To take a stand on this growing issue, Johnson & Johnson recently testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. In their testimony, the company highlighted the challenges facing health care manufacturers and the dangers counterfeiting can pose to the health of patients and consumers.

“Illicit trade has increased dramatically in recent years, impacting nearly every industry,” said Johnson & Johnson Vice President of Global Brand Protection Rich Kaeser. “The problem is obviously a serious concern in the health care and personal care industries where patients and consumers can be injured or even die due to unsafe, counterfeit and illicit products. These situations demonstrate why businesses must partner with one another and with government, so collectively we can be a greater force to deter the growing threat of [counterfeiting].”

Beyond consumers, counterfeiting also seriously impacts private shippers like UPS as well as the manufacturers that rely on their services. A new report from the Department of Homeland Security outlines a series of actions on how the federal government can partner with the private sector to combat trafficking in fake goods.

“With the rise of e-commerce and a global economy, counterfeit goods are a significant problem for many of UPS’s customers, particularly small and medium-sized companies,” said Laura Lane, UPS President of Global Public Affairs. “UPS is pleased to see the administration taking action on counterfeits, including enforcing the collection of advanced electronic data, and assurances that packages coming into the U.S., whether through the private express industry or the global postal system, receive consistent treatment and that there is uniformity at U.S. borders to curb counterfeits and dangerous goods from getting into our country.”

With the administration’s breakthrough “phase one” trade deal with China, the U.S. gained strong, enforceable intellectual property protections to help counter the importation of fake goods, but there is still significant work to be done to protect consumers and manufacturers, including ensuring those commitments are honored. In order to achieve long-lasting reform, a broad coalition of public- and private-sector voices need to be part of the process.

“Manufacturers have always had to deal with counterfeit goods, which lead to damaging consequences for consumers and the business community,” said National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of Labor, Legal and Regulatory Policy Patrick Hedren. “At the end of the day, this is about as bipartisan an issue as you can find. Manufacturers are eager to work with members of Congress, the administration and private-sector stakeholders to better protect the public from the threat of fake goods.”

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