The NAM convened the inaugural North American Manufacturing Conference in Washington, D.C., this week along with its counterpart associations from Mexico and Canada, the Confederation of Industrial Chambers of Mexico and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.
What’s going on: The conference provided an opportunity for North American manufacturing executives and government representatives to share perspectives on the opportunities and challenges facing the sector across the region. At the conference, industry leaders discussed the need to:
- Ensure that North America has the affordable and reliable energy needed to support the manufacturing industry;
- Support more regional competitiveness, greater growth and the success of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement; and
- Address regional workforce needs in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
Deepening ties: On Wednesday, the NAM, CONCAMIN and CME signed a memorandum of understanding that will serve as a roadmap for future cooperation between the three organizations and support close economic ties between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
- The memorandum calls for the organizations to share information about each one’s services and activities, and to work together to shape the continent’s future manufacturing agenda.
- In addition to leaders from the NAM, CONCAMIN and CME, speakers at the event included U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, ExxonMobil Senior Vice President Neil Chapman, Toyota Motor North America Executive Vice President – Product Support and Chief Quality Officer Chris Nielsen, Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Bombardier Head of U.S. Strategy Tonya Sudduth, Energy Transfer Co-CEO Tom Long and Caterpillar Inc. Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Integrated Components and Solutions Division Karl Weiss.
Common principles: “Shared values, shared prosperity” was a central theme of the conference, echoing President Biden’s remarks at the U.N. General Assembly earlier this week.
- “As president of the United States, I understand the duty my country has to lead in this critical moment; to work with countries in every region linking them in common cause; to join together with partners who share a common vision of the future of the world,” President Biden said in New York on Wednesday.
- “There’s never been a greater need for us to stand together,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said. “The world is caught between different political and economic systems. Our system here in North America enriches lives and lifts people up into freedom and prosperity, while other systems oppress their people and rob them of their liberty,” he continued, adding that the USMCA, of which the NAM is a longtime advocate, serves as a reminder “of what we can achieve when we work together.”
Strengthening the region: Throughout the conference, discussions focused on three components of a successful North American economy—growth, resilience and competitiveness—and the critical role manufacturers play in that system.
- “Today, we live in a new reality,” CONCAMIN President José Antonio Abugaber Andonie said. “The commercial competition with China, the pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine … [all] place us before a second great industrial transformation in North America. … Some call it nearshoring, friend-shoring, ally-shoring or reshoring. No matter the name, the truth is that this phenomenon is modifying the structure of international industrial organization. North America is the epicenter of this transformation.”
- Added CME President and CEO Dennis A. Darby: “Manufacturers are an important driver of economic development and prosperity. We are key players in the changes and challenges of the 21st century.”