Research, Innovation and Technology

Manufacturing doesn’t just use cutting-edge technology—we create it. The manufacturing sector accounts for three-quarters of all private-sector research and development in the nation, giving our industry a critical competitive edge and providing our highly-skilled employees with vital support.

Business Operations

The NAM Tours World’s Largest Chemical Complex

As part of the Competing to Win Tour in Europe, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons visited the world’s largest integrated chemical complex and the headquarters of BASF in Ludwigshafen, Germany, this week. The visit highlighted how BASF is addressing global challenges and providing a powerful example of manufacturers’ leadership.

BASF in North America: BASF employs more than 16,000 workers in North America. Its facilities include large, integrated, production-energy flow-logistics operations in Geismar, Louisiana, and Freeport, Texas.

  • Led by BASF North America President and NAM board member Tobias Dratt, the company has been a strong supporter of the initiatives of the Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s 501(c)3 workforce development and education affiliate, to build the workforce of the future.
  • This includes the Creators Wanted campaign, which aims to inspire the next generation of manufacturers and help companies source talent.
  • BASF was among the first companies to advance the NAM and MI’s “This Is Our Shot” Project to increase awareness about COVID-19 vaccinations.

The visit: Timmons met with company leaders forging a path to the future.

  • These included BASF Global Business Services President Marc Ehrhardt and Chief Technology Officer and Board of Executive Directors member Dr. Melanie Maas-Brunner.
  • Timmons also had the opportunity to take part in a BASF immersive experience, one of the company’s innovative approaches to building community awareness about its impact and the promise of the chemistry industry.

The last word: “To fortify the global economy and strengthen the values of free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity—as well as the capacity for democracy to raise standards of living here at home and around the globe—it’s going to take action in the U.S. and Europe,” Timmons said after the visit.

  • “Policymakers must continue boosting supply chain resiliency, energy security and regulatory certainty. The decisions that leaders on both sides of the Atlantic make will determine whether companies like BASF can continue to grow, invest and innovate for a better life for all.”
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Press Releases

Timmons: We Have to Get Serious About Competing with China; The President’s Budget Does the Opposite

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on President Biden’s fiscal 2024 budget plan:

“There is no escaping the fact that the tax increases in President Biden’s new budget proposal would reverse the recent significant growth we’ve achieved in American manufacturing jobs and investment.

“After the 2017 tax reform made rates more competitive, manufacturers kept their promises to raise wages and invest in their communities. In fact, 2018 was the best year for manufacturing job creation in the previous 21 years. And in the past two years, as we rebuilt from the pandemic, we’ve created more jobs in the sector than at any point since the Reagan administration. So it comes as a surprise that President Biden, who has vocally championed manufacturing growth in pushing successfully for infrastructure investment and the CHIPS and Science Act, wants to pursue policies that would undo our progress.

“We have to get serious about competing with China; the president’s budget does the opposite. This proposal further undermines manufacturing in America by failing to reverse tax policies that make it more difficult for our industry to perform research, while China currently employs a 200% super deduction on R&D for manufacturing. It’s also now more expensive to buy critical machinery and finance new investments. If these lapsed deductions aren’t reinstated, it will mean lost jobs, less innovation and fewer opportunities for our communities.

“As manufacturers work to lead our economy forward, we also remain committed to lowering health care costs through market-based solutions that deliver choice and flexibility. Unfortunately, this administration’s insistence on imposing drug pricing requirements is an abdication of free market principles that poses serious risks to the development of new treatments and therapies—the very type of innovation that saves lives in America and around the world.

“Manufacturers are committed to growing investment, jobs and wages here in America. We need our government leaders to share that commitment.”

Background: Read more about how these critical tax priorities impact manufacturers across the country here.


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 13 million men and women, contributes $2.81 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 55% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit

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WATCH: 2023 State of Manufacturing Address

Presented by Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, the 2023 State of Manufacturing Address was given from Husco International in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Special remarks were given by Kurt Bauer, President and CEO, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. Special thanks to Husco President and CEO Austin Ramirez and his team for hosting this year’s address.

Read the official remarks here.

We’re hitting the road. This year’s NAM State of Manufacturing Address officially kicked off the 2023 leg of the NAM’s Competing to Win Tour. The tour will continue to spotlight the industry’s rapid transformation, while also focusing on manufacturing’s well-paying careers, diverse workforce and real-world solutions for the industry’s continued growth.

Upcoming stops: Waukesha and Pewaukee, Wisconsin (Tue, Feb 21); Fishers, Indiana (Wed, Feb 22); Harahan and Avery Island, Louisiana (Thurs, Feb 23)


Press Releases

NAM Hosts “Rebuilding Ukraine: Inaugural Conference of Manufacturers in the U.S. and Ukraine”

Washington, D.C. – This week, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs co-hosted “Rebuilding Ukraine: Inaugural Conference of Manufacturers in the U.S. and Ukraine.” The conference was led by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and ULIE President Anatolii Kinakh.

“Manufacturers have demonstrated their unwavering support for Ukraine and denounced Russian aggression,” said Timmons. “Manufacturers in the U.S. have a long and proud history of standing firm in support of democracy, the rule of law, transparency, freedom and opportunity. We stand with President Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people as they defend those values and as they work to rebuild their country in the years ahead.”

Also participating were senior Ukrainian government officials and manufacturers, as well as NAM member companies with a presence in Ukraine and the U.S. During the meeting, Kinakh thanked the U.S. for its comprehensive support of Ukraine, including through the providing of defense arms, funding and other aspects.

“This is the first business conference of Ukraine and the U.S. on such a scale,” said Kinakh. “In our view, it will enable our partners in the U.S. to learn about the true situation in Ukraine, the business climate and our priorities. It will be the basis to shape direct ties, common interests and business plans that will boost economic activities of Ukraine.”

Kinakh stressed that a stable economy, new jobs and welfare growth for the Ukrainian people were crucial to achieve victory over Russia. Furthermore, he invited American businesses that are not currently operating in Ukraine to invest in the promising sectors in the country, including information technology, energy, infrastructure, industry renovation and education.

To formalize manufacturers’ commitment to supporting Ukraine, the NAM and the ULIE signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the meeting yesterday. This MOU will serve as a roadmap to the cooperation between the two organizations and outlines the key goals and objectives for the partnership.

In March 2022, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the NAM Board of Directors unanimously voted to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to stand with the people of Ukraine in their fight to preserve freedom and independence. The resolution expressed support for the economic and financial sanctions implemented against Russia and called for the removal of the Russian Federation from the World Trade Organization and termination of permanent normalized trading relationship status with the U.S.



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 12.9 million men and women, contributes $2.81 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 55% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please


Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (ULIE) is a strong non-governmental association uniting large enterprises and SMEs, which produce 80% of Ukrainian GDP. The League has 28 representative offices abroad and 39 committees for various sectors. ULIE is an observer organization in business at OECD and cooperates with BusinessEurope. It established several bilateral business councils (with Lithuania, Latvia and others).

For more information, please visit

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Business Operations

Why Manufacturers Need R&D Tax Certainty

This story can also be found within the NAM’s R&D action center.

For companies like O-I Glass, Inc.—a glass manufacturing company headquartered in Perrysburg, Ohio—research and development just got a lot more expensive.

Until the beginning of 2022, businesses including manufacturers could deduct 100% of their R&D expenses in the same year they incurred the expenses—but a change in the tax law that took effect this year required businesses to spread deductions over a five-year timeframe. O-I Vice President of Global Tax and Business Services Scott Gedris explained how that impacts the company.

The scale: With 17 plants in 13 states around the country—and 70 plants in 19 countries around the world—O-I has a significant reach, serving both large multinational companies and smaller customers like microbrewers and small batch spirits manufacturers.

  • The scale of the operation means that O-I invests significantly in R&D, working to develop innovative processes and specific product designs to meet individual customer needs.
  • “If you look at our public financial statements, we spent $82 million in 2021 on R&D—primarily in the U.S.—and that is a significant investment for us,” said Gedris.

Case in point: In the past decade, O-I has invested heavily in developing more effective, efficient and sustainable processes. In 2011, it built a 24,000-square-foot R&D facility on its Perrysburg, Ohio, campus and has announced plans for a new glass manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky, using technology developed at the Ohio facility.

  • Because the company spends so much of its resources on R&D, a significant increase in the cost of investment would require it to make difficult decisions.
  • “Anything that comes out of this in terms of tax dollars … creates a choice within our organization about where we allocate our capital,” said Gedris.

Environmental effects: At a time when O-I is making important investments in sustainability, a significant reduction in available resources could present obstacles to the company’s environmental goals.

  • “When we rebuild a glass manufacturing furnace, that is a multimillion-dollar investment. The cost continues to increase with inflation and investment in modern technology that we need in order to meet our corporate sustainability goals,” said Gedris.
  • “With the cost of that equipment increasing, if we’ve got $10 million less because of increased taxes, we need to evaluate whether we are going to rebuild a glass furnace in one of our 17 U.S. plants, or are we going to defer that? Alternatively, those dollars could come out of our R&D spend, which will impact what we are able to invest in future technology improvements.”

Human impact: Investments in innovation and R&D don’t just create better products and processes for consumers; they also support local economies across the country.

  • “When we invest in a glass manufacturing furnace in these towns, it’s an investment in the community,” said Gedris. “We’ve got multigenerational glass manufacturers in those facilities. It’s a project that people depend on, and they have a lot of pride in the product and the processes at their facility.”

The last word: “When you’re investing in R&D, you’re investing long term—and that means you need certainty in the tax policy,” said Gedris.

Visit the NAM’s R&D Action Center for critical R&D policy updates, industry stories and an opportunity to engage directly with your members of Congress.

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Press Releases

Manufacturers: An Expanded IP Waiver Would Jeopardize American Innovation and the Ability to Combat Future Pandemics

Washington, D.C. – Following the announcement by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative calling for a delay in a World Trade Organization decision on whether to expand a waiver of intellectual property, National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of International Economic Affairs Ken Monahan released the following statement:

“An expanded intellectual property waiver would jeopardize American innovations that are fundamental to fighting current and future pandemics and undermine U.S. technology leadership over our commercial rivals, such as China. Manufacturers welcome USTR’s announcement supporting a delay in the decision on whether or not to expand the WTO’s waiver on COVID-19 products and domestic supply chains and urge all WTO members to fully consider the consequences of such an expanded waiver.

“Efforts could be better spent focusing on other effective international approaches to deal with ongoing and potential global health crises.”


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 12.9 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 58% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit

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Business Operations

“Cybersecurity Finds You”: An Interview with Rockwell Automation’s CISO

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When asked how she got into cybersecurity, Nicole Darden Ford replies “cybersecurity kind of finds you.” The new chief information security officer at Rockwell Automation began her career in the military, where she first got into cybersecurity, then created a cybersecurity program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture before taking several leadership roles in the private sector.

Today, her advice for companies is surprisingly similar: cyberattacks will find you. As she puts it, “It’s not if, it’s when. And it’s not one time, it’s several.”

So how should manufacturers prepare for these threats? We spoke to Darden Ford recently about her recommendations, as well as Rockwell’s efforts to safeguard its own supply chain and provide services to other companies.

The current situation: “Manufacturers account for 65% of industrial ransomware last year. We’ve seen an unprecedented number of attacks, and we’ve seen attackers focus on OT,” Darden Ford says. She predicts the attacks on OT will only escalate.

  • Meanwhile, many manufacturers have a clear strategy for IT, but they have not given as much thought to protecting their operational technology. Yet, as machines get more connected, their operations may become more vulnerable—especially as companies try to integrate legacy systems that weren’t “meant to be connected or patched.”
  • In addition, “because we are so connected, there are third-party risks,” Darden Ford says. Small manufacturers may be more inviting targets for hackers than they realize, since their systems could provide a back door into the networks of their larger clients.
  • On the plus side, manufacturers are getting smarter in building their defenses, she says. And that’s where Rockwell comes in.

Rockwell’s role: Rockwell aspires to become a “trusted advisor” to companies seeking cyber defenses, says Darden Ford. It already manufactured OT, so moving into cybersecurity for such equipment was a natural next step.

  • Its partnerships with other firms, including Dragos, CrowdStrike, Cisco and others, allows Rockwell to offer bespoke cyber monitoring and other services to its clients.
  • These services include penetration testing, threat detection and response and an OT “SOC”—i.e., a security operations center, which monitors threats to clients’ operations remotely.

How it works: “We have an OT cybersecurity roadmap—it starts with an assessment in your specific OT space, then walks through potential risks,” Darden Ford says. (See the end of this article for her detailed description of this roadmap.)

  • The process includes building an “asset inventory, as you can’t protect what you don’t know.”
  • “Then we talk about ways you can reduce your attack surface,” Darden Ford continues. “This is about segmentation. We help organizations divide their network into different domains. If you have ransomware or malware that propagates very quickly, then you have the opportunity to quarantine it.”
  • In addition, the roadmap helps companies decide which tools and resources to use. For OT, you need to use very passive systems that don’t interfere with “getting the product out the door,” Darden Ford says.

After this process is complete, Rockwell’s SOC helps clients stay safe and hone their responses to real attacks.

  • The SOC keeps eyes on a company’s operations remotely, notifies it of breaches within the plant network and helps it decide which threats to tackle. As Darden Ford says, the SOC stands in for the teams that companies would otherwise have to hire themselves.

On-site resources: Manufacturers can tap their existing staff to work on cyber defenses, including with offsite monitors. Darden Ford recommends drafting “the plant engineering team, along with the IT team,” who would have the knowledge and resources required.

A community effort: Large manufacturers should help educate small manufacturers on cyber issues, says Darden Ford.

  • “We have a lot of suppliers, so to mitigate third-party risk, we provide more awareness about OT and advice about upping their cyber hygiene. We work closely with suppliers and do a lot of knowledge sharing,” she says.

Collaboration at the top: In addition, it’s also beneficial for CISOs and manufacturing leaders to consult their peers in what Darden Ford calls “mastermind sessions.”

  • These conversations have provided her with “a lot of insights and data,” she says. She gets indispensable input on “strategies, frameworks, journeys and roadmaps,” as companies try to find their way through this cyber landscape together.

The bottom line: When asked what she says to companies that doubt the need for cyber protections, Darden Ford has a simple answer: “You wouldn’t drive your car without insurance—that’s what this is.”

  • “What used to be optional is becoming mandatory,” she adds. “For small or midsize companies, you are still going to have to report” back to your large customers, many of whom require stringent protections of their suppliers. Those requirements will only get “more and more rigorous over time,” she warns.
  • In other words, however you choose to do it, “you need a plan.”


The Roadmap

Darden Ford supplied us with her account of Rockwell’s cyber roadmap for its own suppliers, below. “The playbook aligns with the NIST framework, showing you step-by-step how to audit your current security state, identify gaps and take a proactive approach to mitigate risk,” she says. Here is her account of the key steps.

Step #1: Discover 

  • Know where you stand. Conduct a security and risk assessment—log all issues and review progress against findings.
  • You can’t protect what you can’t see. You must gain a full understanding of what network assets you have on your plant floor and their current state. Start by conducting extensive network discovery and asset inventory.

 Step #2: Remediate 

  • Work with stakeholders to prioritize assets and organizational risk levels. Take the necessary steps to eliminate, upgrade or replace unneeded, unused or unsupported OT applications and infrastructure. This will look different for every organization based on what you discover in Step #1.

 Step #3: Isolate 

  • Establish a perimeter by physically and logically segmenting your networks. Put up a firewall and establish internal and external cybersecurity policies to protect your OT assets. Set up an on-premises industrial data center to encapsulate critical applications inside the protected OT network.
  • Secure endpoints with security software on plant floor assets.
  • Enable third-party remote access. Third parties need access, but you must control the access and maintain visibility into what they’re doing in your network by enabling OT access controls. 

Step #4: Monitor and Respond 

  • Now that you have a solid foundation in place, the next step is to implement OT network monitoring to provide real-time OT cybersecurity, including malicious event/asset risk alerting, network diagnostics, AI learning and KPI dashboarding. The data only works for you if you are continuously viewing and reacting to it.
  • Establish an OT SOC for 24/7 real-time alert monitoring​, acknowledgement and triage​. Cyberattacks aren’t limited to 9–5.
  • Create an integrated IT/OT cyber event response team. Define event response and isolation protocols. IT/OT must have equal involvement and buy-in for these protocols to be successful. Execute tabletop exercises to simulate attacks and outcomes.
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Policy and Legal

NAM Competes to Win on Taxes

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The NAM is leading the way forward on a range of policies to help boost innovation, opportunity and competitiveness for manufacturers in the United States—and that includes tax policies that ensure manufacturers can continue to compete and win.

The record: During tax reform, the NAM achieved its key priorities—a lower corporate income tax rate, a reduced tax burden on pass-through business income, the adoption of a modern territorial tax system, the retention of the R&D tax credit and the adoption of incentives for capital equipment purchases.

  • Thanks to a more competitive tax code, manufacturers across America have been investing in jobs, facilities and their communities.

The road ahead: Of course, the NAM isn’t taking its eye off the ball. We are committed to protecting our gains and furthering progress—and that means ensuring the tax code continues to incentivize manufacturers’ ability to invest in innovation and growth. We’re focusing on three important tax priorities in the months ahead.

Research and development: On Jan. 1 of this year, a harmful tax change went into effect that makes R&D more expensive in the United States by requiring businesses to deduct their R&D expenses over a period of years.

  • The NAM has been leading the charge to ensure the tax code continues to support innovation by allowing businesses to fully deduct their R&D expenses in the year in which they are incurred. Check out these company stories on the importance of tax policies that support R&D.

Interest deductibility: When manufacturers borrow funds to buy capital equipment, the interest they pay on those loans is tax deductible up to a certain limit. But a recent change in the tax law modified how that limit is calculated—shrinking the deduction, making debt financing more expensive and leaving less capital for job creation and investment.

  • The U.S. is the only OECD country with such a strict interest limitation, so the NAM is working with members of both parties in Congress to reverse the new limit calculation and enhance manufacturers’ ability to compete. Read more about the NAM’s work on this provision here.

Full expensing: Under present law, manufacturers can deduct 100% of their investments in assets with long useful lives, supporting their ability to acquire vital equipment and strengthening their competitiveness. However, the ability to deduct 100% of these costs begins to phase down at the beginning of 2023 and is set to completely expire in 2027.

  • The NAM is leading the business community in advocating for full expensing permanency, joining with members of Congress to support legislation that would create certainty for manufacturers. See how full expensing has benefited small manufacturers in the United States here.

The last word: “The NAM is fighting to protect manufacturers across the country,” said NAM Senior Director of Tax Policy David Eiselsberg. “Protecting R&D, interest deductibility and full expensing will provide the tax certainty necessary for manufacturers to continue to invest in jobs and growth.”

Learn more: Check out the NAM’s full tax agenda in “Competing to Win.”

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Business Operations

How to Get the Most Out of R&D

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How should companies design R&D teams and processes to create the best possible results? That’s the challenge that Babson College Professor of Innovation Management Gina O’Connor addressed in her talk at the Innovation Research Interchange’s annual conference back in June. The IRI is a division of the NAM that advances the field of innovation management by creating contemporary practices—in R&D and many other areas.

A common problem: In an extensive research project at Babson College, O’Connor worked with experts from Goodyear, Synthomer and Diageo to study companies and decipher best R&D practices. She noticed a recurring theme: R&D professionals were being used by companies to solve urgent technical issues rather than to discover and invent.

  • “In many organizations R&D has this feeling of being an order taker and of having to solve problems that are finely tuned and narrowly scoped,” said O’Connor. “That erodes confidence—and eroded confidence reduces empowerment.”

Empowerment and autonomy: O’Connor described empowerment as the authority to determine which projects and initiatives to take on and what problems to tackle. Meanwhile, autonomy refers to the authority to make final decisions.

  • So, what do R&D professionals need? According to O’Connor, most want a moderate amount of empowerment, but not complete control over what to do.
  • “We want to make sure that there’s organizational commitment somewhere associated with what we are doing, but we don’t just want to be told what to do,” as she put it.

So, what works? O’Connor explained that organizations with structureless R&D systems often had erratic decision making, sudden disruptions and unexpected changes in direction that left employees feeling powerless.

  • Similarly, organizations with R&D processes that were too formal were also alienating to employees, who felt there wasn’t any room for flexibility or discussion.
  • In contrast, the best systems included strong project leaders, consistent back and forth between the R&D group and organizational leadership, constructive communication, clearly outlined goals and trust in employees.

A last piece of advice: Training and developing project leaders is among the most essential steps in achieving successful R&D, said O’Connor.

  • “What you need to be doing as a team leader every day is checking in with every member of your team, seeing what they need, where they are, what has happened,” said O’Connor. “It has to be an interactive, interpersonal kind of a thing.”

Learn more: Head on over to the IRI website to check out more of its programs and events.

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Press Releases

Every Manufacturer in America Will Benefit from the CHIPS and Science Act

Timmons: Manufacturers thank congressional leaders from both parties who got this bill across the finish line and President Biden and Secretary Raimon

Washington, D.C. – Following President Biden’s signing of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Every manufacturer in America will benefit from the CHIPS and Science Act, whether they make chips, make products that require chips or are part of a supply chain disrupted by the semiconductor shortage.

“Manufacturers thank congressional leaders from both parties who got this bill across the finish line and President Biden and Secretary Raimondo for their leadership. The industry will also benefit from the new law’s funding for programs to support the STEM workforce, advanced technology development, excavation of critical minerals, clean energy and more.

“Without a doubt, this legislation boosts manufacturers’ competitiveness. But there’s work to be done. Congress must continue its work on China competition legislation and move forward on policies from the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and the America COMPETES Act that were left out, such as anti-counterfeiting measures, important trade provisions and further investments in supply chain resilience and workforce development.

“Our economic future and America’s leadership in the world depend on a competitive manufacturing industry. Congress has acted wisely with the CHIPS and Science Act. Now we need Congress to continue standing with manufacturers and focus on policies that will help us compete with China and other countries, not make it more expensive to make things in America.”


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 $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit

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