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Manufacturing Our Economic Recovery

We were a guest of the Organization for Women in International Trade, Northeast Ohio we attended the City Club of Cleveland, a Citadel of Free Speech, on 17 January 2014, where Susan Helper, Chief Economist, US commerce department, addressed “Manufacturing Our Economic Recovery.” Building on her academic research, Ms. Helper is studying manufacturing’s key drivers in the current economic recovery. She notes that since 2010, our economy has added over 600,000 new manufacturing jobs. 20,000 of those jobs have occurred in Northeast Ohio.

She noted that on her way to the presentation she drove a Chevy Cruz, which is built in Northeast Ohio.

This was a conversation of 3-3-3. She would talk about three spillover benefits of manufacturing in this economic recovery, three policies pertaining to the economic recovery, and three programs pertaining to manufacturing and economic recovery.

The most notable messages in the speech were:

-    Innovation and manufacturing are not separable.

  • Early last decade we felt we could design, and ship manufacturing overseas.
  • We’re finding we’re also losing control of designing, and must work to bring the mixture of design and manufacturing back to the USA.

-    Much cost is buried in the current revolution of cheap energy

  • Wind turbines may have thousands of tons of material, and require thousands of fasteners.

-    This recovery shows that we don’t have to copy China.

  • Hugo Boss in Cleveland, Ohio, has discovered that making clothing domestically can be done economically, for the middle class demographic

-    While the new Trans-Pacific Partnership will have issues, it’s building on what’s worked for trade partnerships of the past

  • (TPP is currently partnering Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.)

-    Costs of international business are difficult to assess.

  • Commerce has a new tool they feel will address this:  http://acetool.commerce.gov/
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