“As this Congress returns to work, we urge Members of Congress not to forget the needs of small US manufacturers,” said Kenneth R. Hutton, (Executive Vice President, Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America) and Joseph W. Miller, (President & CEO, Manufacturers’ Agents National Association), Co-Chairmen of the Small Business Legislative Council’s (SBLC) Task Force on Manufacturing Policy.

Miller said, “In recent months, there has been reason to feel more optimistic about the future of US-based small manufacturers. Some of the economic data suggests that we are making progress in stabilizing manufacturing in general. We are seeing the first signs that China may be willing to modify unfair trading practices, such as their currency manipulation. In addition, there has been some public policy progress in helping manufacturers remain competitive by dealing with the costs of doing business, most notable among those are legal system reforms such as the class action reform bill, the adoption of a national energy policy, the creation of tax policy specifically directed towards US-based manufacturers—the American Jobs Creation Act—as well as the initiation of projects by the Administration, such as reviews of manufacturing-related regulations, but we have a long way to go.”

Hutton said, “First, we have to make sure our existing and future trading partners abide by the rules of international trade. We are asking the Administration not to negotiate away existing US trade laws without the establishment of true, mutual, free and fair trade agreements. We should insist on uniform and complete enforcement of the WTO regulations and rules on all countries. Also, we should provide for the acceptance of international environmental and labor standards in trade and tariff deliberations. We must continue our efforts to ensure that other countries do not engage in currency manipulation.”

“Second, we need to enact additional legislative initiatives to help small business. High on the list is addressing the high cost of providing health care benefits. There are also legal system reforms that are of more direct concern to small manufacturers. Additionally, we need to finish the job with respect to some useful, but temporary, tax policies such as the repeal of the estate tax and the increase in direct expensing,” continued Hutton.

“Third, we need to continue to build on the work of the President’s manufacturing policy recommendations through the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Service,” Hutton said.

“Last year, we saw the emergence of a new sense of commitment to the future of US-based small manufacturers. This year has been marked by further progress. It is important, however, that we do not become complacent before the job is complete. We look forward to working with Congress and the President to finish the job,” concluded Miller.

The SBLC is a permanent, independent coalition of nearly 60 trade and professional associations that share a common commitment to the future of small business. Our members represent the interests of small businesses in such diverse economic sectors as manufacturing, retailing, distribution, professional and technical services, construction, transportation, and agriculture. Our policies are developed through a consensus among our membership. Individual associations may express their own views.