Earlier this week I participated in a panel hosted by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) where we discussed the need for a National Manufacturing Strategy with members of ITIF, International Trade Administration and the National Association of Manufacturers.
ITIF’s recent report, “The Case for a National Manufacturing Strategy for the United States”, outlines key arguments for why the U.S. needs to act quickly and boldly to revitalize America’s manufacturing sector.
According to the report, manufacturing plays a critical role in the U.S. economy for five key reasons:
1) It will be extremely difficult for the United States to balance its trade account without a healthy manufacturing sector.
2) Manufacturing is a key driver of overall job growth and an important source of middle-class jobs for individuals at many skill levels.
3) Manufacturing is vital to U.S. national security.
4) Manufacturing is the principal source of R&D and innovation activity.
5) The manufacturing and services sectors are inseparable and complementary.
Our panel had a raw and honest conversation about the challenges we face as manufacturers and as a country. Over the last 10 years, we’ve lost almost 6 million manufacturing jobs and 42,000 factories. While those figures are terrifying, what is most alarming is that we are losing control of our future.
From my experience I have seen national manufacturing strategies that work. Specifically, South Korea has an extremely focused strategy one that is focused on the value chain relationship and strong government support. The degree to which the South Korean government has organized to support their manufacturing section is phenomenal. I believe we have much to learn from other countries and I look forward to the next ITIF in the series focused on just that.
The bottom-line is that it is time for our leaders to create and implement a National Manufacturing Strategy. I fully support the proposal laid out by The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
I urge you to read the report and provide comments. The government is asking for our thoughts, it’s time for us to tell them what we think about the importance of manufacturing.