American manufacturing’s growth has been challenged in recent months, but there are plenty of reasons for optimism, Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul says.
Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul joined The Rick Smith Show Tuesday to discuss U.S. manufacturing’s outlook, highlighting industrial policy’s impact in buoying the sector in an otherwise challenging economic environment.
“Sometimes it’s the business cycle that you’re in that’s adding a lot of manufacturing jobs or taking them away. Either because we’re in a recession, or we’re in a period of growth and we’re adding jobs. And the business cycle right now, honestly, isn’t awesome for manufacturing because consumer spending has gone down a little bit, the Fed has hiked up interest rates, so there’s a lot of headwinds there, but what we’re seeing, and there’s been some good reporting on this, is that the hundreds of millions of dollars of public investment in the infrastructure, in the semiconductors, in the clean energy manufacturing is having a tangible impact. It’s lifting that boat back up because otherwise manufacturing might be shedding jobs right now were it not for that.”
Paul also underscored that though laws like the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) received no support from Republicans in Congress and continues to see attacks, its incentives had led to the investment of billions of dollars across the country. America has seen $103 billion invested in clean energy and $133 in EVs and batteries since President Biden took office. According to POLITICO, “roughly two-thirds of the major projects are in districts whose Republican lawmakers opposed the Inflation Reduction Act.”
“There has been this shift in policy, and I think it’s going to be very hard for folks to walk away from it because a lot of these investments, Rick, some of them in Red states, some of them are in Blue states, some of them are in Congressional districts of folks who didn’t support the president,” Paul said.
But he cautioned that the momentum that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the IRA have built must be met with equally vigorous trade enforcement.
“I’m not going to pretend like we’ve learned every lesson because our trade policy could use some improvement,” Paul said.
Passing legislation like the Leveling the Playing Field Act (LTPFA) 2.0 would give American workers the tade tools they need to compete in the global market. The bipartisan bill was introduced in both the House and Senate earlier this summer as a sequel to the Leveling the Playing Field Act, which became law in 2015. LTPFA 2.0 aims to prevent repeat trade offenders from exploiting U.S. trade laws by expediting successive anti-dumping/countervailing duty investigations.
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