Archive for the ‘Manufacturing’ Category

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Dow Chemical Invests in Employees and the U.S.

April 15, 2015

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

This is a guest blog post by Deborah Borg, president of Dow USA.

Deborah Borg (center), president of Dow USA, with Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte (left) and  Dow's St. Charles Operations site director Johnny Chavez at the Dow Louisiana St. Charles Operation site.

Deborah Borg (center), president of Dow USA, with Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte (left) and Dow’s St. Charles Operations site director Johnny Chavez at the Dow Louisiana St. Charles Operation site.

In 1897, when The Dow Chemical Company first opened its doors in Michigan, our founder most likely wouldn’t have known that more than a century later, Dow would be one of the world’s largest chemical manufacturers. Today, we employ more than 24,000 employees at 73 sites across the United States. These employees manufacture approximately 14,000 unique products that are exported to more than 120 countries across the globe.

On Thursday, I joined U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte at our Dow Louisiana St. Charles Operations site, located on the Mississippi, just up the river from New Orleans. The Assistant Secretary along with Johnny Chavez, the St. Charles Operations site director, and I met with Dow employees to discuss the role trade has played in helping Dow grow, innovate, and support our U.S. workforce. We also talked about global competitiveness and the need for a level playing field around the world—now and in the future.

In my role as president of Dow USA, our growth strategy is my number one priority. When I think about how Dow can continue to build on its previous success, I think about two things: our investments and the need to grow and cultivate our customer base. The United States is home to 56 percent of Dow’s global manufacturing operations. We have a very strong domestic customer base, but much of our future customer base lies outside U.S. borders. In fact, 95 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of its purchasing power are outside of the United States. Having access to customers in these markets is key for our continued business growth.

When it comes to resources, Dow is aggressively investing right here in the United States. The most recent example is our $6 billion investment in the Gulf Coast, which will yield new production facilities and new jobs in Louisiana and Texas. It also means stronger economies for those states and the United States as a whole.

Although we can control where and how much to invest, Dow has less control over increasing our access to global consumers through new trade agreements. That responsibility falls to Congress and the president. President Obama has been working hard to negotiate new trade agreements with the Asia-Pacific region and Europe that would lower or eliminate barriers to export for Dow products and the products of thousands of other U.S. businesses both large and small.

We’re encouraged by the efforts of the president and the support of the Commerce Department in highlighting the benefits of trade. Global customers are critical to Dow’s continued growth, and new trade agreements hold the promise for Dow to succeed for another century. At Dow, we have been working to generate support in Congress for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. With TPA, the United States has a stronger hand at the negotiating table to bring home trade deals that will benefit American companies and workers.

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North Carolina Attracts FDI in Manufacturing and Textiles

March 13, 2015

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Under Secretary Stefan Selig (seond from left) participates in a ribbon cutting ceremony with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (left) PEDS Legwear President and CEO Michael Penner and Walmart Vice President of U.S. Manufacturing Cindi Marsiglio.

Under Secretary Stefan Selig (seond from left) participates in a ribbon cutting ceremony with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (left) PEDS Legwear President and CEO Michael Penner and Walmart Vice President of U.S. Manufacturing Cindi Marsiglio.

On Wednesday afternoon, I delivered remarks in Hilderbran, North Carolina at a ribbon-cutting ceremony where we officially opened the new Canadian-based Peds® Legwear (PEDS) production facility. PEDS’ recent $16 million investment in the plant and new machinery has allowed the company to hire North Carolina factory workers who were previously laid off. By 2018, this new facility will bring more than 200 jobs to Hildebran, providing a lift to the local economy.

SelectUSA, our program to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), along with our Commercial Service Canada team, helped facilitate this deal. SelectUSA provided counseling to PEDS on how to navigate the federal regulatory process and also helped identify sources of federal funding. In addition to PEDS’ investment in the Hildebran facility, the company plans an additional $8 million venture, bringing their total investment in the United States to $24 million. In less than two weeks, similar FDI deals will be highlighted at this year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit, which will take place March 23-24.

In addition to ITA’s support, PEDS’ new investment is made possible because of a multi-year purchase order contract from Wal-Mart as part of the retailer’s commitment to buy domestically produced goods.

As I noted in my remarks—before an audience that included Michael Penner, president and CEO of Peds® Legwear; Cindi Marsiglio, Wal-Mart’s vice president of U.S. manufacturing; and North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory—PEDS’ investment in the facility shows our nation’s prowess to attract FDI.

Because the United States offers a transparent, fair, and stable business climate, as well as our second-to-none workforce, many global companies like PEDS are beginning to establish or expand operations here. In fact, in 2013, U.S. FDI inflows totaled $231 billion, of which $51 million was invested in U.S. textile and apparel manufacturing. In 2012, majority-owned U.S. affiliates of foreign firms accounted for $48 billion in R&D expenditures, exported $334 billion worth of U.S. goods exports, and employed nearly 6 million workers.

To keep the momentum, ITA will continue to develop opportunities for U.S. workers and businesses by promoting international trade, encouraging FDI, and working to foster a level playing field for American products and services.

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U.S. Manufacturing Attracts Foreign Investment

January 29, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

By Mark Schmit, National Accounts Manager, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership

U.S. Manufacturing Attracts Foreign InvestmentThe United States is an attractive destination for foreign investment dollars for a variety of reasons, including a large economy with diverse consumer markets, a skilled labor force (thanks to community colleges with skill-development missions as well as research universities) and a predictable and stable regulatory system. These reasons and more explain why the U.S. has been the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) since 2006 according to an October 2013 White House report, Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S.

Working for NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), I wasn’t surprised to learn that the manufacturing industry is the largest beneficiary of FDI in the United States, accounting for more than one-third of that investment, according to data from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. “Made in America” is, after all, a de facto stamp of approval the world over. We are a manufacturer’s dream!

And investments in manufacturing have powerful multiplier effects on the U.S. economy. Every $1 spent in manufacturing generates $1.35 in additional economic activity. Since 1988, MEP has been committed to strengthening U.S. manufacturing and individual manufacturers, contributing to the growth of well-paying jobs, the development of dynamic manufacturing communities, and the enhancement of American innovation and global competitiveness.

MEP delivers its own high return on investment to taxpayers. For every dollar of federal investment, MEP clients generate nearly $19 in new sales, which translates into $2.5 billion annually. Last year, MEP centers served more than 30,000 manufacturing clients—a subset of which are foreign-owned. For example, since 2012, MEP centers worked on 900 projects with 322 manufacturers in the U.S. that have ownership ties to other countries. These projects helped those companies create and retain more than $700 million dollars in sales, save about $77 million and create or retain more than 6,000 U.S. jobs.

Looking beyond the statistics, we find many interesting success stories that illustrate how MEP centers across the country help make the most of foreign investment in U.S. manufacturing.

  • Pasta Montanais a contract manufacturer that uses durum semolina to craft specialty pasta. About 40 percent of the 100-employee, 24-7 operation’s business goes to the Japanese market, and it sells to other countries as well. When a key customer asked the company to certify its products to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), Pasta Montana called Montana MEP affiliate MMEC to help prepare for the GFSI audit—which they did in less than four months. The successful effort helped the company retain millions of dollars in sales (about 15 percent of its business), and achieve 3 to 5 percent growth through new business opportunities.
  • Eagle Bend Manufacturing, Inc., manufactures automotive parts for cars and light weight trucks worldwide. A division of Magna International, Inc., of Canada, Eagle Bend has been in Clinton, Tenn., for more than 25 years and employs more than 450 workers. When the increasing number and volume of parts the company made started to create inefficiencies, Eagle Bend turned toTennessee MEPfor help optimizing both its product flow and use of space. This resulted in projected benefits that will top $2 million annually and a $64 million dollar facility expansion that will create 188 jobs over the next five years and add 100,000 square feet of floor space.
  • With more than a century of design and manufacturing experience, RECARO Aircraft SeatingAmericas Inc. is a global supplier of premium aircraft seats for leading airlines around the world. Based in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, the company employs more than 1,600 worldwide including 350 at its facility in Fort Worth, Tex. To meet growing demand, the company partnered with TMAC, the Texas MEP affiliate, on a series of operational excellence initiatives. As a result of that investment, RECARE has seen a 15 percent increase in production, 38 percent increase in on-time delivery, and an 86 percent improvement in the time needed to retrieve parts.
  • Igus Bearings, Inc., is a global company with headquarters in Germany and a new, 162,000- square-foot factory and office facility in East Providence, R.I. Igus has served the North American market for almost 30 years, making polymer bearings and chains that are sold across many industries, including agriculture, construction and automotive. The economic downturn of 2008 changed business operations for Igus, as smaller orders replaced the large orders it was efficiently fulfilling. The ability to handle any order of any size was key to survival against larger (but slower) competitors. Providence-based Polaris MEPhelped Igus implement lean practices, leading to 50 percent fewer customer complaints and faster shipping times—96 percent of orders now ship within 24 hours.

We should see even more of these success stories thanks to high investor confidence in the strength of the U.S. economic recovery. For the second year in a row, the U.S. topped A.T. Kearney’s 2014 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, a survey of 300 companies worldwide. The U.S. is not only the most likely destination for FDI, but never in the 16-year history of this index has a country had such a positive net position. Foreign investment is clearly good for foreign investors, U.S. manufacturers and the communities they support.

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Celebrating One of Florida’s and the Nation’s Key Industries on Manufacturing Day

October 3, 2014

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

A manufacturing worker works on an automobile engine.

Manufacturing supports 17.4 million U.S. jobs.

Happy Manufacturing Day!

There are more than 1,500 Manufacturing Day events taking place across the country today, highlighting the importance of the manufacturing industry to the U.S. economy, American jobs, and to global innovation.

I am in Tampa, Florida, to tour three manufacturing facilities and meet the local manufacturing community.

I will visit these businesses today with Sandra Campbell of Tampa’s Export Assistance Center, and we’ll join students, teachers, parents, job seekers and other local community members at open houses designed to showcase the innovation taking place in modern manufacturing and the professional opportunities that are available in the industry.

Touring manufacturing facilities, discovering their amazing abilities, and meeting the next generation of manufacturers are always the best parts of my job!

Today we’ll be visiting:

  • Microlumen is a major producer of surgical quality heart tubing and a major exporter: microlumen.com.
  • Southern Manufacturing Technologies is a leader in precision machined components and assemblies primarily for the aviation and aerospace industry: smt-tampa.com.
  • Lockheed Martin (Tampa Bay plant) specializes in metal forming, fabrication and assembly of components for many of the company’s major programs: lockheedmartin.com.

I’m especially looking forward to meeting with the local high school students to discuss the rewarding and challenging careers that manufacturing has to offer.

A few facts to remember on this important day:

  • Manufacturing supports 17.4 million U.S. jobs.
  • Manufacturing career opportunities include engineers, designers, machinists, and computer programmers.
  • The annual average salary of manufacturing workers is more than $77,000, which is approximately 17 percent more than similar workers employed in other sectors.
  • For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, the sector creates $1.32 for the U.S. economy.

If you’re not in Tampa Bay, there are plenty of other opportunities for you to connect to your local manufacturing community, and I hope you’ll do so today.

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Supporting Manufacturers on Manufacturing Day and Every Day

September 25, 2014

Greg Sizemore is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service team in North Carolina.

Robots In a Car Factory

Manufacturing is a crucial contributor to the economy of North Carolina and the entire United States.

Manufacturing is more than just a cornerstone of the U.S. economy; it’s a cornerstone of modern life.

The screen you’re reading this on is a manufactured commodity. The radio you’re listening to, the car you drove to work, the smartphone your kids keep staring at – your refrigerator, your TV, your medicine – all manufactured goods.

Many headlines about U.S. manufacturing are negative, focusing on increased global competition in the sector, but the fact is that the U.S. manufacturing industry is growing, it’s supporting jobs, and it is supporting higher quality of life here in the U.S. and around the world.

Manufacturing is also a major source of U.S. exports, and the International Trade Administration estimates that one in four U.S. manufacturing jobs is supported by exports. That’s huge for our economy and I’m glad that we’ll celebrate the industry on Manufacturing Day on October 3.

Here in North Carolina, our manufacturers are creating and exporting billions of dollars’ worth of transportation equipment, chemicals, electronics products plastics, and more. I’m glad that my office in Charlotte and our other Export Assistance Centers in the state get to work with local manufacturers to find opportunities to sell their quality products in foreign markets.

If you’re a manufacturer looking to do business overseas, here are some of the services an Export Assistance Center can provide for you:

  • Market Research: Find out you product’s potential in a given market. Learn about specific regulations that could affect your business model. This kind of information is crucial for your export strategy.
  • Gold Key Matchmaking: Who are the best distributors in a market? What potential joint venture partners exist? What are the best government contacts for you to have? We can find those contacts, make introductions, and make sure you spend your time doing what’s most important: managing your company.
  • Trade Missions: Imagine you could go on a trip to a target market, surrounded by market and industry experts, and meet the foreign government and industry leaders most relevant to your business. That is a trade mission. We connect you to the most relevant opportunities and contacts to make sure you have every advantage to being successful in a market.
  • Trade Leads: We have commercial diplomats on the ground in more than 70 global markets and they have their fingers on the pulse of the business environment. Let us tell you the most current and relevant opportunities for your business around the globe.

You should also consider attending an event in our DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS Business Forum Series. We have export-promotion events coming up in New York, Georgia, Minnesota, and – of course – North Carolina, to support your business in competing abroad. There’s no better event to give your company a leg up in the global marketplace.

There are many other ways the Commercial Service can support your manufacturing business, so contact your nearest Export Assistance Center for assistance.

As Manufacturing Day approaches, I want to thank the 50-plus North Carolina-based manufacturers who are opening their doors to the public on October 3. I hope many of you in the Tar Heel State, and around the country, will participate in Manufacturing Day this year!

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Find Export Opportunities in the Automotive Parts Industry!

September 3, 2014

Kellie Holloway is a Senior International Trade Specialist based in Portland, Oregon, and Member of the Commercial Service’s Global Automotive Team.

image of machinery working on an auto frame

More than one-third of U.S. auto parts exports went to Mexico in 2013. Automotive Meetings 2015 will connect more U.S. suppliers to prime export opportunities in the Mexican market!

One great thing about trade is that it presents opportunities for growth and success for companies in all industries throughout the world.

That’s readily apparent in the automotive industry, where growth in exports throughout North America is creating opportunity for businesses across the continent.

In the United States, auto parts manufacturers achieved $77.5 billion in exports in 2013, and more than a third of those exports – $26.6 billion – went to Mexico. That is a 9.2 percent increase from 2012, and it is a result of Mexico’s continued growth as one of the world’s top five auto exporters.

As Mexico’s automotive exports continue to grow, they will need more and more quality American-made parts fueling their auto manufacturing supply chain, and we at the International Trade Administration want to help form connections between Mexico’s top producers and the most high-quality suppliers in the United States.

One way we’ll support those connections is through the Automotive Meetings event in Queretaro, Mexico February 23-25, 2015. We will connect American suppliers directly to procurement, supply chain, and engineering teams from some of the top vehicle production sites in Mexico.

This could be a great event for any U.S. auto company looking to expand its exports!

To better serve our U.S. clients, we are also hosting two free webinars in advance of the Automotive Meetings event, which will help you learn more about the event in Queretaro, and how to best take advantage of it. The next webinar is Nov. 4, 2014.

auto webinar

U.S. auto exports support thousands of jobs throughout the country, and our team is committed to helping more and more businesses find success in exporting.

If your auto parts company is ready to start exporting, follow our team at @cs_autoteam, visit your nearest Export Assistance Center, or find more information about our services on our website.

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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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