The Council on Competitiveness’s Make: An American Manufacturing report issues a call to keep manufacturing a cornerstone of American independence, economic prosperity, and national security. This series was recently presented to the government as a non-partisan strategy to resolve issues facing American manufacturing, which remains a driver of innovation and job creation, even as automation and technology make manufacturing more efficient. A new era of manufacturing excellence offers hope for good jobs, new innovations, and a higher standard of living. America would benefit from faster economic growth, a more secure industrial and defense base, and an ability to produce solutions to national challenges in energy, health, environment, and the economy.
Americans have lost production of cutting-edge innovations developed in America because of tax, regulatory, skill, finance, and infrastructure limitations that make production elsewhere more competitive. Americans have always been pioneers, risk-takers, and makers. The Council’s task is to set those impulses free and embrace production. Americans have proven adept at rising to the economic challenge of their time. Such a time is now for manufacturing—and Americans can set in place the policies to ignite a new era of competitive and sustainable manufacturing.
CHALLENGE: Expand U.S. exports, reduce the trade deficit, increase market access, and respond to foreign governments protecting domestic producers.
SOLUTION: Utilize multilateral fora, forge new agreements, advance IP protection, and export control regimes to grow high-value investment and increase exports.
Recommendation: Congress, the administration, and industry should intensify efforts to support the President’s goal to double exports from $1.8 to $3.6 trillion and reduce the trade deficit by more than 50 percent.
- Launch trade liberalization negotiations with Brazil, China, India, the EU, Japan, and Trans Pacific Partnership Countries—Australia*, Brunei Darussalam, Chile*, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam. (*already in place)
- Begin negotiations to deepen and broaden the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
- Increase use of anti-dumping measures and countervailing duties to provide relief from unfairly priced or subsidized imports.
- Encourage China, Russia, India, Vietnam, and others to upgrade the existing 1996 Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).
- Increase intellectual property protection through the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Priority countries include China, India, Russia, and Brazil.
Recommendation: Industry CEOs and government leaders should elevate and advance U.S. technical standards and the voluntary consensus standards-setting process.
- Reinforce the principles laid down in the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.
- Encourage industry-led standards for interoperable manufacturing and logistics systems.
- Develop technical standards for emerging technologies and promote global technological collaboration.
Recommendation: Congress and the administration should ensure the President’s Export Control Reform Initiative is completed by the end of 2012 and push for improved foreign export control systems.
- Implement a U.S. export control regime with a single streamlined control list, a primary enforcement agency, a single licensing agency, and a unified information technology system. The new regime should also enable foreign doctoral-candidate researchers to participate in a wider scope of defense-related projects where their participation would not pose a national security risk.
- Renew efforts to negotiate and enforce enhanced rules on foreign government export restrictions that are currently being used by other countries to manipulate and distort markets.
Recommendation: Focus on actions to encourage China to make permanent the special intellectual property rights campaign it ran from October 2010 to June 2011.
- Create a senior directorship in the Chinese Ministry of Commerce with adequate staff and funding. The directory should be driven by metrics to reduce counterfeiting and required report progress regularly and publicly.