Topic Category: Manufacturing

Among the things learned during the COVID-19 pandemic is that our supply chains are on the verge of breaking. National borders that had receded into the background of a globalizing world have been thrust to the fore in the scramble to obtain life-saving Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for those on the front lines of the battle against the virus. A means of shortening and strengthening those supply chains is critical — and available.

Topic: Manufacturing
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It was quite some time ago that we began to speculate about the role 3D printing might play in our modern society. As the technology really started to emerge around the middle of the last decade, we previewed the potential impact on American manufacturing and highlighted broad ideas, such as reduced costs and greater design security.

Topic: Manufacturing
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The claim that imported automobiles might represent some sort of threat to U.S. national security hardly merits even a moment’s thought, much less a formal inquiry. To President Trump — who has requested his Commerce Department investigate precisely this question — the inquiry provides a distraction from his mounting legal woes and, perhaps, the opportunity to secure some leverage in the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations.

Topic: Manufacturing
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“Designed by Apple in California; Assembled in China” are the words engraved on the back of Apple’s ubiquitous iPods, iPads, and iPhones. Might that soon change? Foxconn, the Taiwan-headquartered company that does Apple’s assembling in China, announced last week that it will invest up to $10 billion in production facilities in Wisconsin.

Topic: Manufacturing
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If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, where will President Trump turn when his “America First” policies lay waste to the very people he professes to be helping? The ideas conjured by “Buy American” may appeal to many of President Trump’s supporters, but the phrase is merely a euphemism for doling political spoils, featherbedding, and protectionism.

Topic: Manufacturing
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In the American manufacturing sector, perception and reality often become confused. One reason: American manufacturing employment has declined from a high of 19.5 million workers in 1979 to 12.3 million today. In turn, many assume the U.S. industry has become hollowed out. Another reason: shoppers often claim they see few “Made in America” products on retail shelves and blame imports as the culprit. The reality of the situation, however, is more complex.

Topic: Manufacturing
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Demonstrated by innovative clusters like Silicon Valley, the United States continues to be the hub of global innovation. This also is reflected in the fact that 144,621 utility patents were granted to Americans by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014. America’s innovative success is partly the result of the country’s acceptance of failure, which is considered part of a normal development process. Unlike China, this attitude encourages risk taking, an essential ingredient in innovation.

Topic: Manufacturing
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The myth of decline dominates the narrative about U.S. manufacturing. Yet, the preponderance of evidence indicates that U.S. manufacturing, relative to the past and relative to other countries’ manufacturing sectors, excels by the metrics that speak to its current and future prospects. But it could be doing even better if Congress made some simple changes to the outdated U.S. tariff system.

Topic: Manufacturing
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More than 40 percent of imports to the United States today are sourced from Free Trade Agreement-partner countries, the result of FTAs signed with 20 nations over the past three decades. If the United States successfully enters the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) agreements, the share of FTA-sourced imports will rise above 60 percent.

Topic: Manufacturing
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U.S. manufacturing employment has declined from a high of 19.5 million workers in 1979 to approximately 12 million today. And when walking down the aisles of large retailers, few “Made in America” products are visible on shelves. In turn, many assume that American manufacturing is in steep decline. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Topic: Manufacturing
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