27 April 2010 | Rebecca Ellinor in San Diego
“The US is and will be for quite some time the number one manufacturing economy in the world,” according to John Engler, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.
He spoke on the second day of the Institute for Supply Management’s 95th annual conference being held this week in San Diego, California.
“America’s manufacturing economy remains the world’s largest,” he said.
“It produces more than $1.6 trillion of wealth annually and we represent more than 21 per cent of the total industrial output of the world, a lot of people forget just how big and important this manufacturing economy is. One of my jobs is to keep reminding people.”
There were some positive signs of recovery in the US, Engler said, but the government needed to do more to bring about stability and help boost productivity.
“We’ve never faced a more competitive world. Everyone out there wants a piece of your business. There are global companies with a presence in every corner of the world. The best companies are responding: they’re fighting for market share. My question is, does the government care? Is it doing enough? Is it even aware of the competition manufacturing currently faces?”
Engler said there should be better financial incentives for companies to base research and development (R&D) centres in the US, he bemoaned corporate taxes and export controls, and said the country had failed to maintain its infrastructure.
“Rebuilding infrastructure is a national priority. Roads, bridges and ports: we’ve got work to do. These things would help to put the US back to work. We ought to get started.”
He added that investment in energy and IT was also needed, together with a new air traffic control system.
He encouraged delegates to lobby their congressmen for these changes and investments.
In closing, Engler said: “I want the US to be the best place in the world for companies to have their headquarters; to do the bulk of R&D; and to be a great place to manufacture for both the US and export market.”