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Manufacturing's Winner And Loser: Tariff Waiver Restored; More Oil Job Cuts

This week's winner could save manufacturers millions by eliminating tariffs on materials not available domestically; this week's loser announced an additional 2,200 job cuts amid low energy prices.

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This week's winner could save manufacturers millions by eliminating tariffs on materials not available domestically; this week's loser announced an additional 2,200 job cuts amid low energy prices. 

Winner

President Obama signed the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act last week after it moved overwhelmingly through Congress. 

The legislation includes a provision to establish a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill process for the first time since the expiration of the previous program in 2012. This would enable the International Trade Commission to consider whether certain products are available domestically, and if not, recommend to Congress that the tariffs be eliminated. 

A plastics industry trade group, SPI, estimated that after the previous process expired, U.S. companies faced an additional $748 million annually in costs, tallying the total cost to the U.S. economy at more than $1.8 billion.

"This bill is about strengthening manufacturing jobs," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said after the measure was sent to the president's desk. "It’s about making sure our U.S. manufacturers don’t pay extra costs or extra taxes."

Loser

Echoing the trends of numerous oil companies over the past year alone, Royal Dutch Shell has announced β€” once again β€” that it plans to eliminate 2,200 jobs globally.

These cuts are being implemented in addition to previously announced losses following the company's merger with BG. This is one of many announcements the company has made over the past year with dropping oil prices. 

Shell is not alone, however, as numerous oil companies have been making cuts amid high productionn and low consumption, leading to lingering low prices. 

Paul Goodfellow, Shell's vice president for the U.K. and Ireland, told staff on Wednesday that these are "tough times for our industry and we have to take further difficult decisions to ensure Shell remains competitive through the current, prolonged downturn."

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