The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) is asking the federal government to develop a national strategy for manufacturing in response to the effects of Covid-19 on the country's economy.
“The federal government should take strong and immediate action to support equipment manufacturers, protect the 2.8 million jobs that they support, and guarantee the viability of an industry that is essential to the economic and national security of our country as well as our way of life,” said Dennis Slater, president of AEM, in a prepared statement. “Between rising manufacturing costs and the industry’s growing skills gap, not to mention the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on communities across the country, it is imperative that our elected officials mobilize the full force of the federal government in support of the country’s manufacturing sector.”
The group said ensuring the future of manufacturing, including construction equipment, should be “a national priority and one that will require a more coordinated and efficient effort from the entire federal government.”
AEM is calling on the federal government to:
- Create a national institute that would serve as a hub for all federal manufacturing programs in the executive branch and coordinate federal manufacturing policy across agencies;
- Establish a Chief Manufacturing Officer reporting directly to the President of the United States and responsible for developing and carrying out the national manufacturing strategy.
- Form a National Manufacturing Council to provide nonpartisan advice to the President on how to strengthen the manufacturing sector and ensure the future competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing in the global economy.
According to AEM, 58 manufacturing-related programs exist currently across several federal agencies, which “makes it needlessly difficult and expensive to carry out their missions and impossible to estimate total federal investment in manufacturing.”
“A coordinated national effort, including the new national institute, along with the Chief Manufacturing Officer and the National Manufacturing Council, would significantly raise the profile of manufacturing in the federal government, increase efficiencies and collaboration across existing federal manufacturing programs, reduce wasteful spending, and improve the ability and accountability of the federal government to respond to rapid changes in the global manufacturing landscape,” it said in a press release.
Said Jeff Reed, president/CEO of Reed International and AEM chair:
“It is imperative that our elected officials recognize that a strong equipment manufacturing industry is key to the future prosperity and long-term competitiveness of the United States. A comprehensive national strategy for manufacturing would not only eliminate redundancies and improve efficiencies across the federal government, but would focus all efforts on one single objective: the future of manufacturing in this country.”
A legislative proposal by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) would achieve the objectives of the proposed national strategy for manufacturing, and AEM is working with Senator Peters to ensure the legislation utilizes current program funding and personnel to dramatically improve efficiencies and reduce redundancies in existing federal manufacturing programs, reduces onerous and ineffective regulations, and attracts broad bipartisan support.
AEM is encouraging other trade associations and business groups to join them in working with the federal government to develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy for manufacturing. The initial recommendations by AEM are meant to be a starting point for a broader dialogue about how to ensure the country’s global leadership in manufacturing and guarantee the long-term economic and national security of the United States.