November 27, 2013: Tension over the East China Sea and more

Posted by LDonia on 11/27/2013

Good morning, and Happy Wednesday to you. We hope you are warm and sheltered and not fighting a snowstorm, or waiting for a delayed flight.

First, a heads-up, in the form of a plug: later today the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) will be releasing its guide to American-made holiday gifts available around the country. Please keep an eye on our blog, Twitter, and Facebook pages-- especially if you have some imminent holiday shopping!

Now on to the news…

There’s (even more) tension brewing in and around Asia, as yesterday the U.S. flew two B-52 bombers over a section of the East China Sea that China recently designated as an air defense zone. While the U.S. says the training mission was planned before China’s new policy, the AP reports that, at the very least, there is some concern:

White House spokesman Josh Earnest would not specifically comment Tuesday on the military flights. "It continues to be our view that the policy announced by the Chinese over weekend is unnecessarily inflammatory and has a destabilizing impact on the region," he told reporters traveling with Obama in Los Angeles.

It probably doesn’t require repeating, but we’ll do it anyway: anything that happens on a foreign policy level between the U.S. & China can have a major impact on both manufacturers and consumers.

With 21 nations and 40 percent of the world’s economy involved, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement must cover a broad range of issues. At AAM, we are advocating for a rule that would prevent countries from manipulating their currency. Such a rule would provide a more level playing field for American manufacturers and their workers, but the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) seems to have a different focus: intellectual property rights that would benefit pharmaceuticals and Hollywood. Why? Timothy B. Lee of the Washington Post points to the revolving door between the USTR and these two industries.

The interests of specific exporting industries are not necessarily the same as the interests of the U.S economy as a whole. Excessive copyright and patent protection can stifle innovation and raise costs for consumers. And imposing U.S. law on other countries also limits the flexibility of lawmakers here in the United States, who might want to make the law less friendly to rightsholders sometime in the future.

Well, we’re still hoping for a currency rule. Feel the same? Ask your elected official to support that legislation.

Worried about a possible Sriracha shortage? WaPo has you covered.

Quote of the day: Eric Spiegel, President and CEO of Siemens USA, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging fellow CEOs to bring manufacturing back to the U.S.:

Manufacturing has the largest multiplier effect out of any major economic activity–generating $1.35 in additional economic activity for every $1 spent in manufacturing. Currently, the manufacturing sector accounts for about 70% of all private U.S. firms’ R&D, 70% of patents, and nearly 90% of U.S. exports. Additionally, these jobs are high-paying–traditionally paying nearly 20% more than jobs in other sectors.

Earlier this year, at a City Club event in Cleveland, Irene Petrick, one of the authors of AAM’s new book, ReMaking America, proclaimed that “Manufacturing is sexy again!” It seems not everyone agrees with her. Terry Iverson, President and CEO of Iverson & Company, writes in Huffington Post that manufacturing needs a “whole new persona.” Part of that persona, as suggested by Iverson, is showcasing manufacturing as a viable track after high school. Check out his other ideas. Side note: ReMaking America would make an excellent holiday gift!

That's it from us until next week when we'll have more American-made holiday gifts, new jobs numbers, and plenty of other manufacturing news and analysis. In the meantime, enjoy your Thanksgiving and be sure to check our website before making any holiday gift purchases later this week.

There’s more to the monthly jobs report than just numbers. There are people behind the data, and their stories deserve to be heard. Do you have one to tell? Have you – or your friends, family, or neighbors – started looking for work recently? Have you stopped? Send in your jobs report to info [at] aamfg [dot] org, tweet it to us at @keepitmadeinUSA, or contact us via Facebook. And read the ever-updating report right here.

Have a good Wednesday, Thanksgiving and remainder of your week, America.

-AAM

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