Manufacturing Resurgence and Movement Underway

Amazing how much has changed in the last ten years. With the signing of NAFTA and future off-shoring of manufacturing, technical schools were shut down and law schools were opening up in every major city across the country. It was called progress. DC thought leaders pushed the service economy as being the superior economic approach for the US to follow. Over a million US manufacturing jobs liquidated, many projected that the US would no longer have manufacturing in the 21st century. Now after the recession and the collapse of financial markets, and many are beginning to realize that the death of US manufacturing can and should occur and with the inclusion of automation the US can compete globally with cheap labor markets. However, as we rediscovered the economic security and potential that manufacturing provides, other countries and even continents like the European Union are developing supportive policies and investment to enrich their own economic strengths. Unless the US will implement similar measures, competing will be even more difficult. Below are some excerpts from a recent paper to the European Commission so that more US leaders will learn of the seriousness of our future fight to remain competitive in a global climate. Hope that you review this section and share with others so that the US will develop strategies and approaches to advance US manufacturing performance levels as well: EUROPEAN COMMISSION Brussels, COM(2010) 614 COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era Putting Competitiveness and Sustainability at Centre Stage {SEC(2010) 1272} 3.1. Competitiveness-proofing and implementing smart regulation Despite a well-developed body of EU legislation and regulation, there is still significant scope for better regulation at the European and the national level. A further move towards smart regulation at all levels of regulatory intervention and across all of the different policy fields affecting industrial competitiveness is essential. This has two dimensions. First, it is important to ensure that all policy proposals with a significant effect on industry undergo a thorough analysis for their impacts on competitiveness. Examples of such measures are new internal market legislation, major financial markets regulations that may affect access to finance, and new climate change or environmental legislation. The analysis of impacts on competitiveness would be carried out through the existing impact assessment process by: – assessing and reporting the overall impacts of a proposal on competitiveness, including the investment, cost, price, and innovative implications for industry and individual sectors, as well as consumer satisfaction and taking particular account of the potential interactions between a policy proposal and other existing or planned legislation and regulation; – ensuring the transparency of planned impact assessment work through the publication of roadmaps for all initiatives likely to have significant impacts, including in particular those on competitiveness; – soliciting the opinion of businesses and other stakeholders in the preparation of significant legislative initiatives through stakeholder consultation and by encouraging them to make use of the roadmaps in preparing their inputs into the policy making process; – continuing to ensure that all significant Commission proposals likely to have significant effects, including action plans (and trade negotiation mandates), undergo an impact assessment and are submitted to the Impact Assessment Board. – indicating in the roadmaps accompanying the annual Work Programme which measures would undergo impact assessment. The second element will be ex post evaluation of the effects of legislation on competitiveness. The systematic evaluations of legislation must become an integral part of smart regulation. Evaluation of the results will lead to more responsive, evidence-based and 2 Commission Staff Working Document on Member States' competitiveness performance and policies SEC(2010) 1272. The key findings of this report regarding challenges that are shared by many EU Member States are highlighted in boxes in the text. 3 COM(2010) 543 transparent policy-making and help to identify new opportunities for improving the quality of legislation, including simplification and administrative burden reduction. Since legislation in the past naturally focused on tackling primary objectives (such as ensuring Single Market regulation, meeting environmental objectives etc.), potential spillovers on industrial competitiveness and in particular the cumulative impact of legislation was not always fully evaluated. The Commission thus intends to complement evaluation of individual pieces of legislation with more comprehensive policy evaluations. These “fitness checks” will assess whether the regulatory framework for a policy area is fit for purpose and, if not, what should be improved. This process will aim to reduce excessive burdens and streamline layers of legislation built-up over time by identifying overlaps, gaps, inconsistencies and obsolete measures. The experience gained with the simplification of legislation in the context of the "New approach" for the Single Market for goods might provide valuable insights in this respect. Despite substantial progress in recent years, the large majority of the Member States still face serious and identifiable challenges regarding smart regulation and the business environment, especially for SMEs. Increased and more systematic efforts need to be made by Member States to reduce administrative burden, to pursue better regulation and e-government policies, to apply the "think small first" principle and to simplify support schemes. The exchange of best practice among policy makers can allow policy objectives to be achieved in less burdensome ways. It is also necessary to continue to improve the business environment especially for SMEs. In this respect, much progress has already been made under the Lisbon Strategy and the Small Business Act adopted by the Commission in June 20084. However, further progress is essential through sustained application of the ‘think small first’ principle and through new initiatives to support SMEs’ competitiveness, such as access to eco-markets and ecoinnovation, and cooperation between enterprises and internationalisation. 4 COM(2008)394 EN 7 EN The Commission will: carry out a reinforced analysis of the impacts on industrial competitiveness for all important new policy proposals with significant effects on industry as part of the impact assessment process, and engage in ex-post evaluations and ‘fitness checks’ of EU legislation including industrial competitiveness issues (2011 onwards); review the Small Business Act in order to continue to improve the business environment for SMEs and address emerging issues such as access to eco-markets and eco-innovation, cooperation between enterprises and internationalisation. (2010) Member States are invited to: ensure an assessment of the impacts on industrial competitiveness of their own major policy proposals, implement ‘fitness checks’ of their own legislation, implement the Small Business Act, make further improvements in the business environment, and ‘think small first’.