The Manufacturing Council: A Public/Private Sector Partnership for Progress

January 20, 2012

Nicole Lamb-Hale is the Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services within the International Trade Administration.

Every day, American manufacturers put together different parts to build great things.

Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale (center) with Commerce Secretary John E. Bryson (second from right) and Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez (right) meet with the Manufacturing Council

Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale (center) with Commerce Secretary John E. Bryson (second from right) and Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez (right) meet with the Manufacturing Council

Today, at the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Council meeting, different partners from the public and private sectors came together to do big things.  Specifically, we gathered with a simple goal: to support U.S. manufacturers.

Why is the manufacturing sector so important?  It’s because, historically, it has been a key to U.S. economic growth, provided a ticket to the middle-class for American workers, and been home to some of America’s greatest innovations.

Looking ahead, as Secretary Bryson recently told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “without a strong manufacturing base, we can’t create enough good jobs to sustain a strong middle class. And without a strong middle class, we cannot be a strong country.”

This is why supporting U.S. manufacturers is a priority for President Obama, Secretary Bryson, Under Secretary Sánchez, and all of us at the International Trade Administration.  We are committed to the manufacturing comeback.  And, thankfully, good things are happening.

334,000 manufacturing jobs have been created over the last two years.  In the third quarter of 2011, manufacturing profits were up more than 7 percent compared to the first quarter.

At ITA, we are committed to keeping this momentum going.  We do this in a variety of ways.

This includes:

  • Helping U.S. manufacturers reach new markets:

Only 1 percent of U.S. businesses export.  Of those that do, 58 percent export to only one market.  There is potential for U.S. manufacturers to do so much more.

With efforts like the New Market Exporter Initiative, we are working with private sector partners — like the National Association of Manufacturers— to provide U.S. businesses with the support they need to reach new markets and new customers.

  • Ensuring that U.S. manufacturers are competing on a level playing field:

American-made products represent quality.  All businesses need is a fair chance to sell their goods and services, and ITA is committed to giving them this equal opportunity.

We continue to enforce anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws.  In addition, whenever needed, our Advocacy Center is ready to reach out to foreign-governments to make the case on behalf of U.S. businesses.

  • Bringing customers to U.S. businesses:

At ITA, we know that in this 21st century economy, we’ve got to be creative in serving U.S. businesses.  With our International Buyers program, we administer a sort-of reverse trade mission initiative.

Every year, the ITA brings over 10,000 pre-qualified international buyers to U.S. trade shows.  We want U.S. products in front of as many customers as possible.  Why? Because sales impact profits.  And, profits lead to jobs.

We are doing this and so much more.  If your business needs help, I encourage you to go to export.gov and begin the process of selling your goods overseas — today.

On a personal note, helping U.S. businesses is important to me.  I’m from Detroit, which has a rich history of manufacturing.

I’ve seen how these industries can impact communities and lives.  And, all of us at the Department of Commerce are committed to ensuring that these sectors have this positive impact for years to come.


  1. A 334,000 increase in manufacturing jobs is weak – way too weak. While I am pleased to see some efforts underway, this administration is doing way too little, way to late. Unchain the manufacturing sector from bone-headed regulations and competitive wreaking taxes. The US manufacturing can do what it needs to do when government gets out of the way.

  2. Good information, the services provided by the new market exporters initiative and the ineternational buyer program are excellent opportunities for small business to get into exporting. One suggestion is to increase outreach to small businesses, many simply do not know of the services provided.

  3. Yes, it is necessary for our country to increase it’s exporting business and support those manufacturing companies who are attempting to export. We need to increase jobs by more than the 334,000 reached to even put a dent into our unemployment rate.

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