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Council on Competitiveness Report on Manufacturing Highlights Role of Standards in Driving U.S. Competitiveness


New York, Dec 12, 2011

“In this global, knowledge intensive and consumer-oriented economy, the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing has never been more important . . . A new era of manufacturing excellence offers hope for good jobs, new innovations and a higher standard of living.”

So asserts MAKE: An American Manufacturing Movement, a report released Thursday by the Council on Competitiveness, which seeks to boost the U.S. manufacturing sector and the national economy as a whole. According to the Council, America’s prosperity and national security are intrinsically tied to its ability to translate ideas into new products, services, and jobs. The strategy, which was created with input from industry, academia, and other organizations including the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), puts forth five critical challenges facing U.S. manufacturing and offers specific solutions to address them.

An Innovation Economy

At the ANSI Joint Member Forum meeting on April 20, the Council on Competitiveness’s president and CEO Deborah L. Wince-Smith provided a provocative keynote on advancing U.S. competitiveness, calling for the U.S. to build a “creation nation” to turbo-charge innovation.

Read more.

“We urge the President and Congress to act with us to implement this strategy and do their part to unleash America’s manufacturing potential,” the report states. “This strategy is powerful because it includes input from the highest levels of industry, academia, research and labor – representing sectors across the manufacturing landscape.”

Among the challenges identified by the report are “expanding U.S. exports, reducing the trade deficit, increasing market access and responding to foreign governments protecting domestic producers.” The Council puts forth the solution to “utilize multilateral fora, forge new agreements, advance IP protection, standards and export control regimes to grow high-value investment and increase exports.” Incorporating ANSI’s input, the report further expands this solution with the recommendation that: “industry CEOs and government leaders should elevate and advance U.S. technical standards and the voluntary consensus standards-setting process.” The report also calls for reinforcing the principles laid down in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.

Manufacturing Facts

  • U.S. manufacturing employs more than 11 million Americans directly; each of these manufacturing job supports five other jobs in related sectors

  • In 2010, manufacturers contributed $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy

  • Manufacturing accounts for nearly 60 percent of U.S. exports

The strategy puts a strong emphasis on the importance of standards, including a full-page discussion of how standards drive economic growth, job creation, and U.S. competitiveness.

“Standards and conformance underpin global commerce, inform the direction of innovation and impact the strength of the American workforce,” the report states. “In short, standards have the power to turbo-charge innovation and fuel competitiveness in the global marketplace.

“Particularly in high-tech manufacturing industries like electric vehicles – and alternative energy sources such as nuclear, wind, and solar technologies; smart grid; nanotechnology; and cybersecurity – standardization can help U.S. business shape enormous growth and reap the rewards from that influence.”

Read the Council on Competitiveness’s full report, MAKE: An American Manufacturing Movement.

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