March 14, 2014: We're all over the place

Posted by mmcmullan on 03/14/2014

Good afternoon,

Happy Friday, and welcome to the Early Shift. This week the weather was cold in DC. And then it was warm. And then it was cold again. It was kinda like manufacturing news: All over the place.

So what have we been reading about this week?

Well, for starters: The outlook on the Chinese economy. A recent survey of economists thinks that a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy will hamper growth in our own. Your pals at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) agree, but for a slightly different reason: An economic slowdown in China won’t slow production in its factories, and that output will instead just get dumped into the U.S. And judging by the yuan’s recent precipitous drops (currency manipulation -- alive and well!) we may be on the verge of an import surge.

Secondly: Oregon's Senator Ron Wyden, telling it like it is. The incoming chair of the Senate Finance Committee sees the currency issue as a “major challenge” to American manufacturers. As James Politi of the Financial Times reports, that’s a serious change in tone from an important bully pulpit in Washington:

His remarks stand in contrast to the approach of Max Baucus, his predecessor on the committee and the new US ambassador to Beijing, who was more sympathetic to the White House and Treasury position that currency levels are best dealt with through diplomacy rather than punitive measures. Mr. Wyden’s stance has raised expectations that he will try to force the administration into embracing new currency standards in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks and revive congressional efforts to punish China for artificially stifling the renminbi.

ICYMI: ABC News’ David Muir looks into New Balance’s efforts to get Made-In-America sneakers on our troops’ feet:

And lastly: AAM will be traveling to Pawtucket, Rhode Island next week to talk manufacturing and national security with Senator Jack Reed, fresh from brokering a bipartisan deal to extend unemployment insurance for millions of out-of-work Americans. Are you in Rhode Island, or will you be next Thursday? Come out and join us.

And that’s it. That’s it and that’s all, America. We’ll catch you on Monday.


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