Posted at 11:33 AM
Guest blog post by Laura Taylor-Kale, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing, International Trade Administration
As October winds down, I say farewell to Manufacturing Day and what has turned into a celebration of manufacturing and innovation this entire month. Over the last few weeks, I have had the privilege of participating in events in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Tennessee to raise awareness about the importance of U.S. manufacturing and the critical role it plays in our economy. The factories and labs that I visited are bringing incredible ideas to the marketplace and beyond. The innovation happening in the manufacturing sector is inspiring – and so are the career opportunities!
Witness the creativity and expansion of ideas generated by employees in both small and large manufacturing companies as well as at Manufacturing USA institutes around the country. Innovation and manufacturing are truly inextricably linked.
As President Obama stated in his 2015 State of the Union Address, “Twenty-first century businesses will rely on American science and technology, research and development. I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs.”
In Knoxville, Tennessee last week, I visited Local Motors, an auto manufacturer using 3D printing to make electric vehicles; the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and the Institute for Advanced Composite Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), one of the Manufacturing USA institutes. Local Motors’ innovative technologies used in design and processing builds on scientific research in advanced composites and additive manufacturing at IACMI – and these are exactly the kinds of synergies that the Administration is working to strengthen.
In addition, U.S. automakers and suppliers are investing heavily in new electric technologies and models. Electric vehicle sales continue to grow around the globe and are expected to be 35% of global new car sales by 2040. Since the Chevy Volt, Ford Focus Electric, Tesla, and Nissan Leaf all have assembly, research and development, and inventory processing in the U.S., sales of these vehicles will support the U.S. economy and job creation.
As the White House noted in the Administration’s Strategy for American Innovation last year, “Facilitating exports by innovative U.S. companies means giving them the tools to navigate foreign markets effectively.” We in ITA’s Industry and Analysis unit help innovators become exporters by offering the Top Market Reports, a set of comprehensive, sector-specific market studies to help firms identify the best markets in which to grow their business. But we don’t stop there. We are proactively moving a trade agenda that advances market conditions to enable U.S. innovators to commercialize products, services, ideas, and business models on an international stage. They will be able to derive full benefit from an equal international playing field and utilize a competitive advantage earned through investments, ingenuity, hard work and sweat.
For instance, we are leading technical coordination to support harmonized standards and regulatory approaches in Asia, a key region of the world for both electric vehicle and auto parts exports, and an area to which we’ll be able to better export under high-standard trade agreements like TPP.
These and other efforts will help ensure that growing foreign markets stay open, thereby helping to ensure the global competitiveness of U.S. automotive and technology companies and to support the growth of manufacturing and innovation at home. We are proud to support the manufacturing innovators who are shaping the world we live in today and the stronger one we will live in tomorrow.