September 25, 2013: The Senate releases a currency letter, too!

Posted by mmcmullan on 09/25/2013

Good morning,

Happy Tuesday! Big day in the Senate yesterday. And no, we’re not talking about a live reading of Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor (show us the pictures, Ted Cruz!). A majority of that esteemed body, led by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) sent a letter to senior Obama administration officials asking that they include “strong and enforceable foreign currency manipulation disciplines” in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations:

A free trade agreement purporting to increase trade, but failing to address foreign currency manipulation, could lead to a permanent unfair trade relationship that further harms the United States Economy.

Well done, Senators! Your letter will pair nicely with the similar letter the House sent in June on the same subject.

Elsewhere around the web:

Reconstruction of California’s Bay Bridge was done with an awful lot of Chinese steel, and improvements to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York Harbor will be done in the same way. So representatives from the U.S. steel industry -- including yours truly at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) -- met with New York and New Jersey authorities last week to discuss ‘buying American’ when using taxpayer dollars on infrastructure projects. John Shinn of the United Steelworkers said the meetings went well, writes Steve Strunsky of the Star Ledger:

Shinn was cautiously optimistic about what will come from last week’s meeting and follow-up sessions, after he said officials told him they would rather use domestic steel and conceded that reforms may be needed to level the playing field for public contracts. “I would say it was a productive conversation,” Shinn said. “But we’ll see.”

The pork’s in the pan, everybody. Smithfield shareholders have okayed the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm, reports Christopher Doering for USA Today. Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, which will merge with Shuanghui International, a meat processor that’s been plagued with food safety concerns in recent years. As we’ve observed in the past, some lawmakers have cast wary eyes at the deal.

Applied Material, Inc., the California-based microchip-maker, is buying Japan’s Tokyo Electron. Reuters reports the combination of the world’s number-one and number-three producers of chip-making gear will create a company worth about $29 billion.

There’s not much microchip production (nor the high-tech manufacturing jobs that accompany it) based in the United States these days. That’s a shame, because a lot of the technology that drives industries like these have sprung from American R&D. To quote AAM President Scott Paul: “As taxpayers, we’ve financed research that has led to extraordinary devices like MP3 players and GPS navigators, but we don’t make any of them.”

And now to spur our wonder with another extraordinary American manufacturing fact:

For the next few days the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is presenting Huddle, Politico’s weekday morning newsletter that previews what’s happening every morning on Capitol Hill. Click here to sign up.

And keep up to date with AAM's manufacturing missives by recieving the Early Shift directly in your inbox. So much news for you in the morning!

-AAM

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