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Patrick Gallagher, Director of NIST, Discusses How to Out Produce: Revitalizing Manufacturing Transcript

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My name is Patrick Gallagher. I’m the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and I’m here today to talk to you about Chapter 6—Revitalizing U.S. Manufacturing.

This is a critical topic to me because NIST’s purpose is to support U.S. industry’s competitiveness through measurement science and technology.

Manufacturing plays a special role in our economy. As Chapter 6 points out, the manufacturing sector is a significant part of our overall GDP, but it also is instrumental in creating high quality, high pay jobs in our economy and in supporting our national infrastructure and national defense.  

But one point about manufacturing is often not well understood and that’s that the manufacturing sector itself plays a critical role in our nation’s capacity to innovate.  Almost two-thirds of our research and development capacity in the business sector is based in manufacturing-based industries.  Manufacturing also plays a critical role in trade.  Most of our tradable economy is based in the manufacturing sector.  

But manufacturing is a private sector activity.  The federal government doesn’t manufacture anything.

So given the importance of manufacturing, what’s the federal role in addressing this? Well, manufacturing is a very broad sector. There are a lot of activities here and the federal government’s role in manufacturing is equally broad, but just as critical.  It includes investments we make in research and development infrastructure—the subject of Chapter 3.  It includes our investments and focus on education and workforce development. It includes our role in supporting and promoting U.S. small and mid-size businesses.  It includes our efforts in trade policy to promote fair and equitable trade.

In short, the health of our nation’s economy depends on the health of our U.S. manufacturing sector. This is why revitalizing U.S. based manufacturing should be a national priority. Or, as Secretary Bryson said, our goal should be to “Build it here and sell it everywhere.”