MAG president presents machine tool industry's revitalization recommendations to Obama administration


Jan 21, 2010

MAG President Dan Janka, along with other manufacturing industry leaders, conveyed ideas for revitalizing American industry to Vice President Biden and other administration officials at a recent meeting of Biden's Middle Class Task Force. Janka, who is Board Chairman of the AMT (Association for Manufacturing Technology), was part of a group that included representatives of Harley-Davidson, Spirit AeroSystems, Honeywell, Dow Corning, International Paper, Goodyear and others at a meeting with the Vice President, Commerce Secretary Locke, Labor Secretary Solis, National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, Manufacturing Czar Ron Bloom, and other top industry and Administration staff.

"The meeting established a forum for manufacturing representatives to convey their ideas on what the government can do to support growth and revitalization of U.S. manufacturing," said Janka. "Our most pressing interests are extension of the current R&D tax credit and the 50 percent bonus depreciation for capital spending on equipment and plant infrastructure. Government can also encourage innovation through Federal manufacturing R&D programs. In addition, we emphasized the urgent need for reform of U.S. export controls and business VISA requirements.

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According to Janka, U.S. export controls put the domestic machine tool industry at a significant competitive disadvantage by forbidding export of certain products. "These same products, such as 5-axis machine tools, are freely produced and exported by our European and Asian competitors," he explained.

“Secretary Locke expressed his commitment to support export control reform and business VISA reform," Janka added, “I stressed the need for quick action because our industry's inability to export is costing many high-paying jobs.”

During the task force meeting, the Vice President announced the Administration’s support for expansion of the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (MTC) by $5 billion from its initial $2.3 billion funding. The goal of the MTC is to stimulate clean-energy manufacturing in the U.S., a market in which MAG has established itself as both a wind-energy manufacturer and as a supplier of core manufacturing technologies. The company's Michigan wind-energy manufacturing venture with Dowding Machining, known as Astraeus, recently received a $7 million government grant to build a specialized system for machining wind turbine hubs, and pursue development of carbon fiber wind blades.

The meeting attendees were among the first to see the Obama administration’s “A Framework for Revitalizing American Manufacturing,” released to the public after the task force meeting. The report attempts to analyze the cost drivers in each step of the manufacturing process and suggests a framework for designing appropriate government support.