1. LATEST POLICY
Passed by Congress -- “Buy America” provisions in WRRDA
Congress recently passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The bill includes provisions introduced by Sens. Brown (D-OH) and Merkley (D-OR) that ensure American-made iron and steel are used in federally-funded water infrastructure projects when available and competitively priced. “For our economy to continue adding jobs, we must ensure American taxpayer dollars are used to support manufacturers and workers at home, not overseas,” Brown said. “I thank my colleagues for passing legislation that will strengthen our economy and infrastructure while benefitting Ohio manufacturers." "If we don’t make things in America, we won’t have a middle class in America,” Merkley said. “Today’s news is a huge victory for the principle that American tax dollars should support American jobs.”
More: Brown press release
Secretary Pritzker announces first 12 Manufacturing Communities
Commerce Secretary Pritzker announced the first 12 communities that will be designated Manufacturing Communities as part of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) Initiative. The program is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies. The 12 communities were selected from 70 that applied based on the strength of their economic development plans, the potential for impact in their communities, and the depths of their partnerships across the public and private sector. The Manufacturing Communities will receive coordinated support for their strategies from eleven federal agencies with $1.3 billion available in federal economic development assistance. The communities will also receive a dedicated federal liaison at each agency to help them navigate available federal resources. “The 12 Manufacturing Communities announced today represent a diverse group of communities with the most comprehensive economic development plans to attract business investment that will increase their competitiveness,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
More: Commerce press release | White House fact sheet
Introduced -- Defend Trade Secrets Act
Senators Hatch (R-UT) and Coons (D-DE) introduced the Defend Trade Secrets Act to help combat the loss of an estimated $160 billion to $480 billion each year in the United States to the theft of corporate trade secrets. The bill empowers manufacturers and other companies to protect their trade secrets in federal court by creating a federal private right-of-action. “The intellectual property that drives the U.S. economy has never been more valuable, or more vulnerable,” Senator Coons said. “American companies are losing jobs because of the theft of trade secrets every day. This bipartisan bill will empower American companies to protect their jobs by legally confronting those who steal their trade secrets. It will finally give trade secrets the same legal protections that other forms of critical intellectual property already enjoy.”
More: Hatch press release | Coons press release
Hearing -- Judiciary hearing on trade secrets
Manufacturing leaders testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism on the need for urgent action to combat trade secret theft and protect American manufacturing jobs. The witnesses urged Congress to pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which empowers companies to defend their trade secrets in federal court and recover stolen intellectual property before it is sold to competitors. Pursuing trade theft cases in state courts results in “a whole lot more expense,” said Doug Norman, Vice President and General Patent Counsel for Eli Lilly, as well as “a whole lot more risk, because we may not be able to isolate and seize the stolen materials as quickly.”
More: Coons press release
2. OTHER NEWS
News -- Landrieu urges BASF to build plant in Louisiana
Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) wrote to BASF urging the company to locate its new propylene facility in Louisiana, where it would create thousands of high-paying jobs and fuel the revival of manufacturing. “Louisiana is at the center of a global manufacturing renaissance and a natural gas boom, made possible by extraordinary and swift advances in technology to locate, capture and produce natural gas,” Sen. Landrieu said.
More: Landrieu press release
News -- Baldwin testifies before International Trade Commission on behalf of Wisconsin manufacturers
Sen. Baldwin (D-WI) testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of a Wisconsin manufacturer, Felker Brothers of Marshfield. Sen. Baldwin appeared to highlight the importance of the stainless pipe industry. The manufacturer is a petitioner in an antidumping investigation on imports of welded stainless pressure pipe from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. At the ITC hearing, Baldwin focused on the challenges that Felker and the industry have faced from unfairly traded imports.
More: Baldwin press release
News -- Brown calls on administration to protect steel manufacturers
Sen. Brown joined Northeast Ohio workers at a rally to call on the Obama Administration to protect Ohio steel manufacturers and the jobs they support. Outside of the U. S. Steel facility in Lorain, Brown and local steelworkers urged the Commerce Department (DOC) to crack down on countries that unfairly dump their steel in the U.S. market, threatening American jobs and competitiveness. A recent report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), supported by Sen. Brown, finds that a surge in imports is putting half a million U.S. manufacturing jobs at risk.
More: Brown press release | EPI report
News -- Schumer, Gillibrand announce manufacturing grants to University of Rochester and SEMATECH Albany
Sens. Gillibrand (D-NY) and Schumer (D-NY) announced grants for the University of Rochester’s New York Photonics Manufacturing Initiative and SEMATECH Albany from the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The grants will strengthen the nation’s optics, photonics and imaging manufacturers, and support SEMATECH’s Semiconductor Supply Chain Roadmapping initiative, respectively.
More: Gillibrand University of Rochester release | Gillibrand SEMATECH release
News -- Harkin announces economic development funding for Iowa
Sen. Harkin (D-IA) announced that three Iowa regions were awarded grants through the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to help establish comprehensive economic development strategies in their region.
More: Harkin press release
News -- Shaheen opens Southern New Hampshire Regional Economic Development Center
Sen. Shaheen (D-NH) joined members of the New Hampshire congressional delegation in opening the Southern New Hampshire Regional Economic Development Center, which will help support small manufacturers with counseling, pre-loan packaging, assistance in finding a location, alternative financing, and employee training. Sen. Shaheen supported REDC’s grant application to the Economic Development Administration, and in April of 2012 announced REDC’s selection for a $432,000 grant which made the new center possible.
More: Shaheen press release
News -- Cardin tours Maryland manufacturers
Sen. Cardin (D-MD) launched a Made in Maryland Job Tour, touring a number of Maryland manufacturers. Among the manufacturers he toured was HunterDouglas, where 860 employees manufacture high end, custom window fashions.
More: Cardin press release
News -- Coons tours local manufacturer
Sen. Coons (D-DE) visited WhiteOptics, a manufacturer of raw materials for LED lighting. While there, the Senator took the opportunity to address questions on how protecting trade secrets can help encourage innovation.
More: Coons blog post
News -- President Obama meets with manufacturing leaders
The President met with manufacturing leaders to announce a forum to attract more American and foreign companies to create jobs in the U.S. “We have made enormous strides over the last several years not just recovering from a Great Recession, but taking advantage of and now marketing the advantages of doing business in the United States — whether it’s low energy costs, an incredibly productive workforce,” the President said.
More: Detroit News
News -- NIST announces award to MTConnect to promote advanced manufacturing
NIST recently announced an award for MTConnect, “an open, royalty-free standard intended to foster greater interoperability between manufacturing devices and software applications.” "This is the promised land," says Doug Woods, president of the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and a champion of MTConnect.
More: IndustryWeek | NIST announcement
News -- Production of new Ford Transit Van launched at new Kansas City plant
Ford recently launched production of the new Ford Transit Van at its Kansas City Assembly Plant. With 2,000 new jobs at the plant supported by a $1.1 billion investment, Ford is now more than 75 percent toward its goal of creating 12,000 jobs in the United States by 2015. In addition to the Transit Van, the Kansas City Assembly Plant produces the Ford F-150, and employs 4,878 workers on three crews.
Report -- “The all-of-the-above energy strategy as a path to sustainable economic growth”
The White House recently issued a report detailing how an all-of-the-above energy strategy can help fuel economic growth. Energy prices are of particular importance to manufacturers, and have helped fuel the U.S. manufacturing renaissance in recent years.
More: White House
News -- Commerce Department honors manufacturers for export success
Commerce Secretary Pritzker honored 65 U.S. exporters at the 2014 President’s “E” Awards. The 52nd anniversary of the awards, the “E” Awards are the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for significant contributions to increasing American exports.
More: Commerce Department