Archive for the ‘Manufacturing’ Category

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Keeping the United States on Top of Manufacturing Innovation

June 9, 2014
A manufacturing worker works on an automobile engine.

The Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Council wants the United States to remain a manufacturing leader.

Michael Laszkiewicz is the Chair of the Manufacturing Council. He is the Vice President and General Manager of Rockwell Automation.

I serve as chair of the Manufacturing Council, which advises Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on the manufacturing industry. The Council is composed of representatives from large and small manufacturers from across the United States.

Our objective is to identify and recommend ways the U.S. government can respond to the challenges facing U.S. manufacturers to ensure our competitiveness at home and abroad.

At our most recent meeting, the Council adopted three letters of recommendation focused on workforce development best practices; a national campaign to address the misperceptions around manufacturing careers; and a shale gas study to inform liquid natural gas export policy decisions, and opportunities in manufacturing, innovation, and research and development.

We believe these recommendations will better position the United States as a leader not just in manufacturing productivity, but in manufacturing and science innovation. Having the right technology, the right workforce, and the appropriate level of respect for the manufacturing industry is crucial to protecting U.S. jobs and the long-term health of the economy.

Below is a summary of our recommendations.  For more information, you can read the Council’s full recommendations at: http://trade.gov/manufacturingcouncil/.

Recommendations for Manufacturing Innovation, Research and Development:

  • Designate federal manufacturing innovation programs as an Interagency Science and Technology Initiative.
  • The Administration strengthens the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation and the role of the national labs.

Recommendations to Improve Workforce Development and the Public Perception of Manufacturing:

  • Develop a national manufacturing perceptions campaign to reset America’s manufacturing mindset.
  • Realign Workforce development programs for Advanced Production Technologies.

Recommendation for Manufacturing Energy Policy: 

  • Lead a study evaluating the implications of natural gas exports on jobs and economic growth.
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U.S. Automotive Industry Driving Exports

March 28, 2014

Eduard Roytberg is a Senior International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration’s Export Assistance Center in Ontario, California. He is the leader of ITA’s Commercial Service Global Automotive Team.File photo of workers building a car.

The U.S. Commercial Service’s auto team is dedicated to increasing U.S. automotive exports and supporting American automotive manufacturers doing business around the world. The automotive industry is crucial to the American economy as one of the largest employers and manufactured goods export sectors.

We’re happy to report that 2013 was an excellent year for the industry! Here are some highlights:

It’s clear this industry is running on all cylinders! We expect continued success for American businesses in this sector, so contact your nearest Export Assistance Center if you’re ready to bring your automotive products into the global market.

Our Global Automotive Team has specialists throughout the country and at US Embassies and Consulates in 72 countries. We are ready to help your company achieve its export goals.

Be sure to follow our team on Twitter @cs_autoteam to learn more about our automotive industry initiatives, upcoming events and other updates.

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Atoms for Prosperity: ITA Leads Largest Ever U.S. Industry Delegation to 6th Annual U.S. Industry Program at the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference

October 30, 2013

Chandra Brown is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Chandra Brown and other U.S. government officials with the industry delegation at the USA: Atoms for Prosperity Exhibit.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Chandra Brown and other U.S. government officials with the industry delegation at the USA: Atoms for Prosperity Exhibit.

In September, I led a delegation of twenty-seven U.S. companies and organizations to the U.S. Industry Program at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference in Vienna, Austria. The program helped U.S. civil nuclear companies showcase their world-class technology to foreign government decision makers and energy policymakers from around the world.

It was an important event to support U.S. businesses in a growing industry. The global civil nuclear market is estimated to be worth about $850 billion by 2020, which creates significant export opportunities for U.S. companies.

Throughout the program, I met with senior foreign government delegations, IAEA officials and international energy policymakers to highlight the benefits of U.S. nuclear technologies and how they can help countries meet their civil nuclear energy goals.

The companies had some 100 meetings with potential foreign government customers of civil nuclear energy products and technologies. These meetings enabled companies to highlight the benefits offered by U.S. civil nuclear companies and encourage market-friendly policies.

Company representatives also met with our civil nuclear trade specialists to learn about sales opportunities and Commerce Department services to help them win export sales.

The theme of this year’s U.S. Industry Program was “Atoms for Prosperity,” which captures the civil nuclear industry’s economic benefits as well as the United States’ commitment to the safe and secure expansion of nuclear energy for peaceful uses. This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower’s 1953 speech, “Atoms for Peace.”

Several senior U.S. government officials also supported the event, including Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Executive Director Mark Satorius, White House Director for Nuclear Energy Policy Joyce Connery, and other officials from the Departments of Energy, State and the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

I am proud to have been part of such a distinguished industry delegation to Vienna to demonstrate before a global audience the U.S. Government’s strong support for its industry. This event is the first of many that will showcase the U.S. civil nuclear industry’s world-class technologies and services and help create jobs in the United States, while expanding our civil nuclear cooperation with other countries.

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Wishing You A Happy Manufacturing Day!

September 26, 2013

Mary Isbister is the President of GenMet Corp., and the Vice Chair of the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Council.

Making stuff is cool!

This is something manufacturers know very well. It is, however, a well kept secret and one that desperately needs to be shared with students, parents, educators, and our communities at large. Manufacturing Day, celebrated Oct. 4, 2013, is a fantastic opportunity for manufacturers to let the cat out of the bag, put themselves on display, and let the country know how important – and how interesting – manufacturing is.

GenMet will be sponsoring its second Manufacturing Day event at our headquarters in Mequon, Wisconsin. Our theme is “Making Stuff is Cool.”

We’ll host tours of our facilities to show our community what manufacturing is all about. Visitors will be able to interact with high tech equipment and highly skilled employees while they transform raw materials into everything from truck parts and wind turbine components to the retail displays that they see in department stores.

Not only will they witness manufacturing in real time, they will also see how much our team members enjoy the work that they do.

Manufacturer jobs are not what they used to be. It is no longer manual labor; it is technical work requiring a broad set of skills and the ability to understand lean manufacturing principles and advanced quality systems.

As technology continues to advance, manufacturing has evolved into a truly high tech industry. A stronger comprehension of math, excellent problem-solving skills, and computer literacy are essential. The next generation of manufacturing talent must be made up of the best and brightest students.

Manufacturing Day provides an important opportunity for us to help educate students – our workers of the future – on the full spectrum of diverse careers available in manufacturing. In addition to technical production-related careers, manufacturers need specialists in customer service, purchasing, marketing, information technology, and many other fields necessary to operate a successful business.

We at GenMet look forward to welcoming more than 350 students, teachers, and guidance counselors from the surrounding community to our facility. We view our Manufacturing Day events as an investment in the future of manufacturing and our economy.

I hope other manufacturers will consider hosting an event. Teachers, parents, and members of the public can use the Manufacturing Day site to find events in their area.

We couldn’t think of a better way to help people young and old understand what advanced manufacturing truly is than to have them see it for themselves in a real life, hands-on environment.

We want everyone to experience the feeling we have every day – that making stuff is really cool.

Thanks to all of you who are supporting American manufacturing, and happy Manufacturing Day!

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Partnership Helps U.S. Businesses Find Opportunities in Brazil

September 3, 2013

Kit Rudd is the Senior International Trade Specialist responsible for Construction Machinery in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Transportation and Machinery.

Achilles Arbex is the general manager of the Association for Manufacturing Technology's Sao Paulo Technology Center.

Achilles Arbex

Brazil is becoming an increasingly important partner for the United States. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez all visited Brazil in August to discuss growing U.S.-Brazil ties in trade and education.

For U.S. exporters, Brazil’s machinery manufacturing sector represents an attractive opportunity. Taking advantage of that opportunity, however, requires familiarity with the country’s often challenging customs and tariff systems, local content requirements, and legal procedures for establishing a business.

That’s where Achilles Arbex can help. Arbex is the General Manager of the Association for Manufacturing Technology’s (AMT) Sao Paulo Technology Center. The Technology Center is the focal point of a $290,000 Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) award the International Trade Administration (ITA) awarded to AMT.

The award is helping AMT represent and promote the interests of U.S.-based manufacturing technology businesses. AMT supports manufacturers that design, build, sell, and service the continuously evolving technology that lies at the heart of manufacturing.

Our team recently spent five days with Arbex and AMT executives at the FEIMAFE Machine Tools Trade Exposition in Sao Paulo, talking to U.S. exhibitors about how AMT’s Technology Center can help U.S. companies take advantage of opportunities in Brazil.

To help its member companies access emerging global markets more easily, AMT has opened technology centers in Shanghai; Chennai, India; Monterey, Mexico and now Sao Paulo.

AMT’s technology centers provide a variety of services to AMT members, including:

  • Researching and arranging meetings with potential customers
  • Providing comprehensive market and competitive analysis
  • Translation oversight on promotional pieces and technical documents
  • Trade show assistance
  • Negotiation practices

The MDCP award is a competitive program that provides funds to organizations aiming to increase U.S. exports. For every dollar given to an industry by ITA, the industry group must provide two of its own. As part of the award, ITA will work with awardees to help accomplish their mission.

The Department of Commerce recently announced seven recipients of the 2013 MDCP awards. For more information about the awards, including how to apply for future consideration, visit: www.trade.gov/mdcp.

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Attila’s Guide to Conquering Export Markets

August 29, 2013

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center.

Attila Szucs started Advanced Superabrasives in Nashville, North Carolina, with one employee in the early 1990’s. In the years that followed he grew the domestic market for his products, then expanded internationally during the U.S. economic downturn.

Szucs’s company has used International Trade Administration services like the Gold Key matching service to develop international markets around the world. His company was recognized by the Commerce Department with an “E” Award for exporting. He shared his story with Doug Barry, an international trade specialist with the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center.

Barry: Tell us about your company.

Szucs: The company was founded in 1993 in Nashville, North Carolina. And basically we started with myself and another person, and today we’re exporting to 16 countries.

We manufacture super-abrasive grinding wheels for other manufacturers. Super-abrasive grinding wheels are a product that actually grinds hard materials such as ceramic, glass, quartz, steel–all materials that need to be manufactured to very high tolerances. And the best way to do that is through grinding.

Barry: How did you get the entrepreneur bug?

Szucs: It was from my father. He had his own business. He started his own business in the United States not too long after we arrived here. And he is the entrepreneur in the family, and that’s where I got it from.

Barry: What was the biggest challenge that you faced in the development of your company?

Szucs: We started with absolutely no sales in 1993, and we did a lot of research and development and testing to improve our product. And slowly but surely we started penetrating the market within the United States.

We started exporting in 1995 to Canada. And after about 2002, when the economy took a hit in United States, we started to look how we could diversify so we can insulate ourselves from economic downturn. That’s when we decided that we really needed to look at exports, and we started exporting to China and to Brazil.

Barry: How did you manage?

Szucs: We were lucky. We actually started talking to the U.S. Department of Commerce, from Charlotte, NC, and it was just absolutely wonderful how we were treated and how much help they were. Through their Gold Key program, that’s how we got into Brazil. And that program is so helpful that they set everything up for you and basically all we had to do is show up. They even helped us with an interpreter and they set up all the appointments for us. It was a wonderful experience.

So from that point on we really tried to work very, very closely with the U.S. Department of Commerce. And in North Carolina we also had the North Carolina Department of Commerce, who was also very helpful in helping us navigate through the exporting issues that may have come up.

Barry: But how did you know to contact these people to begin with? You’ve mentioned just showing up. That’s something that a lot of U.S. companies fail to do.

Szucs: Most small U.S. companies don’t know about that tremendous asset that we have, whether it’s from the federal level or the state level. We actually heard from another company who used the U.S. Department of Commerce which helped them export. And that’s why we contacted them and wanted to see how we could pursue the same route.

Barry: Have you learned things in your dealings with other countries – China, Brazil, elsewhere – that have made you a better company?

Szucs: We just came back from Seoul, Korea. We participated in Trade Winds Asia, a U.S. Commerce organized trade mission. And again, I can’t say enough about it because it is a tremendous amount of help to any U.S. company, especially small companies like ours, because we get to meet companies from the region – potential customers, potential distributors. Plus, we learn about the culture of each country in the region and what they’re looking for so we can better prepare ourselves when we start dealing with these companies. It was invaluable for us.

Barry: Have you modified your product at all, or modified your approach to doing business as a result of what you’ve learned by selling to people in other cultures?

Szucs: We absolutely had to, because different cultures have different needs and we really have to cater to their needs. We can’t use the same approach in Europe that we’re using in Asia.

The United States does have a good following. People around the world, especially in Asia, they look up to United States and to United States products. So if you’re sincere and you have a good product, you have a very good chance of selling overseas, especially in Asia.

Barry: Are you confident that after you recent trip to Asia that you’ll add to your current collection of country markets?

Szucs: Yes, I’m looking forward to adding Korea and Japan. Japan is the crown jewel for me.

Barry: Will the free-trade trade agreement with Korea help?

Szucs: I think it will. Anytime we have a free trade agreement, it definitely helps. And it removes some of the obstacles.

Barry: What’s your advice to U.S. companies that aren’t exporting now?

Szucs: You don’t have to be a large company to export. That’s number one. And we’re a prime example. We’re not a large company. Second, take one country at a time. And most important, get help. And I would highly recommend using the U.S. Department of Commerce and your own local state department of commerce, because it will help navigate those troubled waters of export. Depending on which country you’re trying to get into, it could be a tremendous help to have people help you with the exports.

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No Stalling on the Ride to Export Markets

July 29, 2013

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Global Knowledge Center.

A dirt biker rides a bike up a mountain.

Two of the first autoclutches made by Rekluse were exported to Europe.

Rekluse makes clutches for off-road dirt bikes in a small factory in Boise, Idaho. The company’s founder, who begged his parents for a dirt bike and got one at age eight, got the idea for the business when searching, unsuccessfully, for a clutch to prevent engine stalls with his bike.

Now, Rekluse is selling clutches to dirt bike enthusiasts all over the world.

The company has worked with the International Trade Administration and other government agencies to develop an impressive international business presence, earning a presidential E-Award for Export Excellence in 2013.

On hand in Washington to accept the award was export manager Alison Kelsey, who talked with the Global Knowledge Center’s Doug Barry.

Barry: What does your company make?

Kelsey: Our company invented and manufactures auto clutches for dirt bikes. We’re in the off-road segment now and looking to go into the street market later this year. The product is called an auto-clutch. At a basic level, it prevents your motorcycle from stalling. And so it’s an aftermarket, bolt-on product that has advantages for beginners all the way up to professionals.

Barry: How did the company come into being?

Kelsey: The founder, Al Youngwerth, had tried a product that was kind of like ours, and it didn’t work well. It ended up damaging his motorcycle. He had a difficult time with their customer service. He’s an engineer, so his mind just started to work and he created the first auto-clutch 11 years ago. He just started from scratch and learned how to machine the product.

A dirk biker is executing a jump on a dirt course.

Exports are now about 30 percent of Rekluse’s business. The company exports to 41 countries.

Barry: How has the company grown?

Kelsey: Early on, two of the first clutches that were ever made went to customers in Europe. We started exporting very early on and took requests.

But three years ago, when I came into the company, we said: “We have a real opportunity here to grow this and to put best practices in place, bring in the infrastructure and really grow.”

We’ve seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years. Exports are now about 30 percent of our business. We have 18 distributors and through them, we export to 41 countries.

Overall, exports have enabled the company to grow more quickly. We have a very seasonal business and selling to markets all over the world helps us even out that seasonality and we can keep the balance up throughout the year.

Barry: What was the most important thing that helped the company grow systematically?

Kelsey: I think for us it as the commitment of the company to export, to know what it was going to take and all be on the same page and ready to invest in that, and then for all of us to have an understanding of the opportunity. When we have in-house R&D and production, everyone needs to be on the same page. So that was the most important first step: getting everyone on board from product design all the way up–we’re planning for exporting.

Barry: Was there a big challenge that you have encountered, or the founder encountered, in making the company successful?

Kelsey: I think the biggest challenge we’ve had is probably just limited resources. We’re a small company. We have specific challenges in each market that we work to overcome, but I’ve really found that since we’ve connected to the U.S. Commercial Service, we know where to get the answer to whatever situation has come up.

Barry: How specifically has the Commercial Service out there in Boise helped you?

Kelsey: Well, we’re really fortunate with our local Export Assistance Center office and Amy Benson specifically – I’d like to mention her. She has done everything from mentor the leadership team in our company, to prepare us for the commitment of exporting.

We’ve taken advantage of Gold Key Service, which finds buyers for us. I was in Brazil earlier this year, and to have everything set up – you just arrive and the Commercial Service people at the embassy have got it dialed up. We had fantastic meetings. Really great opportunities came out of that.

We also used the International Partner Search in Europe last year, which provided us a list of qualified buyers. So those are the services we’ve used, but Amy also just connected us to all the other export resources in our community. I think we know everyone now: the SBA, the Idaho District Export Council, many others. It’s our local network, and it’s great.

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The Sky is No Limit for U.S. Aerospace Manufacturing Exports

July 3, 2013

Chandra Brown is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing in the International Trade Administration.

Chandra Brown, center, joins members of the Commercial Alternative Aviation Fuels Initiative to cut the ribbon at the Alternative Aviation Fuels Pavilion at the Paris Air Show.

Chandra Brown, center, joins members of the global aviation industry to cut the ribbon at the Alternative Aviation Fuels Pavilion at the Paris Air Show.

I recently had the great pleasure of meeting many impressive US manufacturers, as well as former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, at the 50th International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Field. Buzz is a key figure in American aerospace and was part of one of the United States’ greatest accomplishments—landing men on the moon. Meeting him was a reminder of America’s long tradition of leadership in aerospace manufacturing.

I was thrilled to see that legacy on full display at the U.S. International Pavilion in Paris. There were 264 American companies representing 34 states exhibiting in the Pavilion this year, and 75 of those companies had never been to the show before. During the week of the air show, these firms had the opportunity to meet with representatives from more than 2,000 companies from around the world, learn about new aircraft programs directly from major manufacturers, and mix with potential government customers from key aviation markets.

The International Trade Administration worked closely with Pavilion organizer Kallman Worldwide to help our exhibitors get the most out of the show. Industry experts and commercial specialists from around the world were on hand to counsel U.S. companies about their specific exporting needs. We organized a series of tours for foreign delegations interested in meeting with our firms. We worked with our colleagues at the Bureau of Industry and Security to provide the latest information on the Obama administration’s export control reform effort. We also met with representatives from both industry and government to promote foreign direct investment in the U.S. aerospace industry and the alternative jet fuels industry, and to advocate for U.S. companies competing for foreign government sales.

At the International Trade Administration, we know companies engaged in international business are stronger than those that are purely domestic. This is particularly true for the aerospace industry, which has the highest positive trade balance of any U.S. manufacturing industry.  My mission as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing is to make sure U.S. aerospace firms and other U.S. manufacturers are able to compete fairly on the global stage. ITA’s efforts at the Paris Air Show will help make that mission a success!

I hope all manufacturers will take advantage of trade missions to expand their business. You can find a list of upcoming missions here.

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Private Sector Council Provides Feedback on Manufacturing Initiatives

May 3, 2013

Michael Laszkiewicz is the Chair of the 2013 Manufacturing Council. He is the Vice President and General Manager of Rockwell Automation.File photo of workers building a car.

Innovation.

Workforce development.

Export promotion.

Greater support for small and medium-size manufacturers.

And most of all, competitiveness.

Those were the key issues that 23 representatives of the manufacturing community discussed in the initial meeting of the newly appointed 2013 Manufacturing Council, on which I serve as chairperson.

The Council is the principal private sector advisory committee to the Secretary of Commerce on the manufacturing industry. It is composed of representatives from large and small manufacturers from across the U.S., representing an array of industries ranging from automotive parts to chemicals to superconductors.

The Council will meet four times this year to advise the Secretary of Commerce on the challenges facing manufacturing, and provide input on the Obama Administration’s manufacturing initiatives.

As professionals in the field, we know and understand the issues affecting manufacturing. We care about the future of the manufacturing sector and we’re proud to have a voice to provide input on the Obama Administration’s initiatives.

While the issues we discussed aren’t new, we approach them with energy and enthusiasm, buoyed by the Administration’s renewed commitment to reinforce its efforts to strengthen U.S. manufacturing global competitiveness.

What do you think of the list of issues the Council is focusing on? If we could give the Administration one piece of advice on how to strengthen manufacturing, what should it be?

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ITA Under Secretary Promotes Manufacturing During Three-State Tour

October 5, 2012

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Sophia Lu is a Fellow at the International Trade Administration Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. She is currently an MA candidate in International Affairs at The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs.

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez (center) meets with Jet Inc.'s President Ron Swinko (far left) and other staff at their manufacturing facility in Cleveland, OH as part of the "Made in America Manufacturing Tour." in October 2012.

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez (center) meets with Jet Inc.’s President Ron Swinko (far left) and other staff at their manufacturing facility in Cleveland, OH as part of the “Made in America Manufacturing Tour.” in October 2012.

On October 2nd, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez commenced a four-city tour of American manufacturing cities to promote the benefits of strengthening America’s manufacturers and expanding U.S. exports to create jobs. This “Made in America Manufacturing Tour” supports President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which seeks to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Just last year, exports supported 9.7 million American jobs, an increase of 1.2 million American jobs from 2009.

On his first stop in Toledo, Ohio, Under Secretary Sánchez met with company officials and toured the manufacturing facility of Bionix Development Corporation. Bionix was recently honored with the President’s “E” Award, which was created by Executive Order of the President in 1961 to give recognition to person, firms, or organizations who contribute significantly in the effort to increase U.S. exports.

Sánchez then traveled to Cleveland, Ohio and held a forum at the City Club of Cleveland on the “Resurgence of American Manufacturing”.  There he also met with the Northeast Ohio District Export Council and the local business community for a roundtable discussion on the role of exporting and manufacturing in the NEI. While in Cleveland, he also toured the manufacturing facilities of Jet, Inc. and Codonics, Inc., both of which are also “E” Award winners.

The following day, the Under Secretary continued his tour in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He delivered a convocation lecture at Carnegie Mellon University, highlighting the importance of commercial diplomacy and how international trade drives economic growth. Under Secretary Sánchez also participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Western Pennsylvania District Export Council. He then met with officials and toured the manufacturing facility of Cardinal Resources, a company that has succeeded in growing its exports due to the assistance from the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) local U.S. Export Assistance Center.

On October 5th, Under Secretary Sánchez made the last stop of the “Made in America Manufacturing Tour” in St. Louis, Missouri, where he met with the Missouri District Export Council and visited Ranken Technical College. He concluded the Tour with participation in a CEO roundtable event with representatives from local manufacturing firms.

The reason this Manufacturing Tour is so timely is that exporting is boosting the U.S. manufacturing sector. In fact, exports in manufactured goods increased by $358 billion (39 percent) since 2009, reaching a record $1.3 trillion in 2011. And manufacturing employment has gained 532,000 jobs over the past 30 months, the strongest growth for any 30-month period since June 1989.

Even as the tour concludes, the International Trade Administration won’t stop working to help support American manufacturers. To keep up to speed on our activities, follow us on Twitter at @TradeGov and @UnderSecSanchez.

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