As the manufacturing industry grapples with disruptive forces in the U.S. and around the world, companies are looking for more certainty and opportunity.
NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Ken Monahan spoke about these issues with UPS President of International Public Affairs Penelope Naas in a panel discussion during the UPS Supply Chain Solutions virtual conference on Oct. 5.
The big idea: “Manufacturers of all sizes must be able to compete in a global economy by selling not just to consumers in the U.S., but also to billions of consumers globally,” said Monahan.
- “For us, international economic growth is core to our DNA—and it is absolutely critical that we increase opportunities for those 95% of the global population that lives outside of the U.S.”
- The NAM emphasized these broad priorities in its just-released “Competing to Win” policy agenda.
The challenge: “We’ve just seen wave after wave of supply chain disruptions, and the impact that that’s happening on the ability of manufacturers to operate and engage not just in the U.S. but globally,” said Monahan. “In a recent quarterly survey [of NAM members], 78% of our leaders listed supply chain instructions as a primary business challenge.”
- According to Monahan, the global nature of manufacturing underscores “the importance of our industry working to ease the types of global supply chain bottlenecks that are impacting so many businesses around the world … easing uncertainty and … knocking down unfair trade barriers that continue to stymie the growth of economic activity globally.”
Problems and solutions: Monahan named COVID-19, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and disclosure requirements that require more scrutiny of supply chains as key factors impacting manufacturers—and emphasized the need for diverse sources of products to ensure supply chain resiliency in the future.
Building partnerships: Monahan pointed to the importance of robust trade agreements and partnerships with economic allies to secure resilient supply chains and promote fair competition.
- “When it comes to trade, we need to think through ways in which we can deepen our partnerships with our friends and allies,” said Monahan. That means “seeking trade agreements and cutting-edge, best-in-class frameworks with our trading partners to encourage increasing standards to U.S. levels.”
Monahan also noted a series of ongoing U.S. efforts with global trading partners, including in the Indo-Pacific region, Europe, the Americas and Kenya. He made clear that the NAM is working to promote new agreements that open markets, strengthen U.S. innovation and technology standards and increase global standards around trade rules, among other priorities.
- Such U.S. global engagement is “demonstrating to manufacturers that the U.S. is back on the field,” said Monahan. “But at every opportunity, we are pushing the administration to think bigger, be even more ambitious and take this opportunity in front of it.”
Promoting transparency: Monahan spoke about the importance of manufacturers’ insight into their supply chains.
- “Companies need to be knowledgeable about as many tiers of their supply chains as possible and have strong due diligence and compliance programs in place to ensure to the maximum extent possible that goods are not being sourced or sold to entities that use forced labor or are on various export control lists,” he said.
The last word: “We need to be able to really put forward and advance the same principles globally that we do here at home as manufacturers: nondiscrimination, fairness, equal opportunity and competition,” said Monahan. “We are at our best when we are advancing those priorities globally and in the U.S.”
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
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 www.nam.org