My TweetDeck was abuzz with tweets yesterday morning about a new bill that President Obama will have signed into law yesterday afternoon. Cleverly named the Manufacturing Enhancement Act of 2010, the bill while certainly helpful to US manufacturing can hardly be considered either comprehensive or complete. The bill’s actual name, the “Miscellaneous Tariff Bill commonly known as HR4380 specifically only covers the reduction of a range of import tariffs for materials and chemicals. You can view the complete text of the bill via this link. Some of the materials include flat screen plasma displays, golf club heads but also a range of chemicals and compounds such as Caprolactone-neopentylglycol copolymer, nickel carbonate and ortho nitro phinol, as examples.
But as this post from NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) points out, the legislation does not address several key aspects in order to truly “enhance manufacturing. For example, it doesn’t address any strategies for lowering trade barriers on imports of US products in foreign markets. NAM calls for the adoption of free trade acts specifically for Panama and South Korea as examples of policies required to help double US exports, a policy plank of President Obama’s. NAM names over a dozen policy initiatives in a report entitled: Blueprint to Double Exports in Five Years that Congress would need to enact to ensure the success of the export initiative. Some of these changes involve export control changes, intellectual property protection, logistics, infrastructure investment, foreign trade compliance with WTO rules along with many others.
We have a little button that sits in our office that says “easy. When you hit it, the speaker says, “That was easy. We’d be clicking that button about this bill, though we understand that Republicans had held it up. It’s a non-controversial bill that has stood the test of time as it has been repeatedly introduced and signed into law by several previous administrations. With few controversial elements this law represents a “no-brainer. But to get US manufacturing moving again, the real work lies ahead.