News & Insights

Policy and Legal

Rust Belt Manufacturer: Preserve “Keystone” Tax Provisions

The U.S. tax code is a keystone of our nation’s economic competitiveness, Erie Molded Packaging President Tom Tredway told the House Ways and Means Tax Subcommittee at a field hearing on Monday. But pro-growth tax provisions have begun expiring, with more tax increases on the way next year—so that keystone has started to crack, “weakening the entire structure” of the country.

What’s going on: Tredway gave testimony at a hearing in his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania, the namesake of his 42-year-old, family-owned custom injection molded parts and packaging solutions company.

  • Tredway told Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO), Tax Subcommittee Chairman Mike Kelly (R-PA) and others of the negative effects his business has seen since the expiration of three provisions from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: immediate expensing for domestic research and development, enhanced interest deductibility and full expensing.
  • And Tredway put the committee on alert: additional TCJA expirations are scheduled for the end of 2025, and small manufacturers “will be disproportionately harmed” by congressional inaction to preserve these vital policies.

A winning formula: The expired provisions—as well as other, soon-to-expire measures—were like rocket fuel for manufacturers and the rest of the economy.

  • “In the years following TCJA, Erie Molded was able to invest nearly $7 million in new capital equipment purchases thanks to full expensing,” Tredway said. “Along with this much-needed equipment, we were able to create new positions across our team, and we were able to deliver higher quality products faster to our customers.”

​​​​​​​But now… Tredway’s company has had to delay important equipment purchases, and last year, its taxable income “was almost six figures higher” than Tredway had anticipated.

  • What’s more, when the 20% pass-through deduction—currently taken by companies in which profits pass through to the owner and are thus taxed at the individual rate—expires at the end of 2025, Erie Molded Packaging will see another tax hike it can ill afford, “severely hampering [the company’s] growth trajectory.”

​​​​​​​What should be done: Congress must pass the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act as soon as possible—and act to prevent tax hikes in 2025, Tredway told those at the hearing.

  • “I urge every member of this committee to preserve these and the other pro-growth provisions, which allow manufacturers to function as the backbone of our economy and compete on a global scale.”
Policy and Legal

NAM Files Suit to Block OSHA “Walkaround” Rule

The NAM and allied groups are challenging the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recently finalized “walkaround” rule.

What’s going on: On Tuesday, the NAM, joined by like-minded business organizations, filed a lawsuit in the Western District of Texas to block OSHA’s final rule revising the Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process. That rule was finalized in April and is set to go into effect May 31.

  • The new rule would allow nonemployees—including union representatives, plaintiffs’ attorneys, community organizers and even competitors—to accompany OSHA inspectors on workplace safety inspections.

Why it’s a problem: Not only does the final rule fail to advance the agency’s mission of ensuring workplace safety, but it is beyond the scope of OSHA’s authority. What’s more, it violates businesses’ rights, the NAM said.

  • The new regulation “infringes on manufacturers’ right to exclude others from their property, threatens new liabilities and risks compromising manufacturers’ intellectual property. The NAM Legal Center is filing suit to prevent this harm,” NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly said.
Policy and Legal

NAM to Senate: Administration March-in Proposal Undermines IP, Innovation

The Biden administration’s push to invoke “march-in” rights is unlawful and would have “disastrous consequences” for the United States if enacted, the NAM told the Senate Tuesday.

What’s going on: Ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on intellectual property in the biopharmaceutical sector, the NAM warned of the potentially dire consequences of the proposed march-in framework issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

  • The NIST proposal would allow the federal government to “march in” and seize manufacturers’ patent rights if an innovation was developed in any part with federal dollars.
  • In the biopharmaceutical sector and other innovative industries, federal funding plays an important role in supporting early-stage research—but further R&D, product development and commercialization require hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in additional capital from investors and established companies.
  • Robust IP protections ensure that manufacturers can bring innovative products to consumers.

Why it’s a problem: March-in would violate manufacturers’ IP rights and prevent investment into lifesaving and life-changing technologies, according to NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain.

  • “Allowing march-in based on the price of a product or technology, as the NIST guidance proposes … would undermine manufacturers’ IP rights and have sweeping ramifications for innovation in the United States and America’s world-leading innovation economy,” Crain told the committee.
  • Committee member Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) agreed during the hearing that the proposal is fundamentally flawed. “Any company [that] invents [anything] or any researcher who invents anything is now open to the federal government saying, ‘I want that, and I don’t agree with the price you’re setting for it,’” he said.

What should happen: Congress must stop NIST’s overreach, Crain said.

  • “Policies that threaten IP protections, like NIST’s proposed march-in guidance, will cede one of our greatest advantages to our competitors. Manufacturers [look forward] to work[ing] with the committee to ensure the U.S. maintains the strongest IP protections in the world in order to spur the discovery and commercialization of inventions that improve health and quality of life for all people.”
Press Releases

Manufacturers Challenge OSHA’s Unlawful Walkaround Rule

The NAM Legal Center Joins Industry Groups Seeking to Block Rule

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Association of Manufacturers, joined by other business groups, filed suit in the Western District of Texas to challenge the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s final rule amending the Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process (Walkaround Rule).

The Walkaround Rule will allow an unlimited number of third parties, such as union representatives, plaintiffs’ attorneys and community organizers, to accompany OSHA inspectors on safety inspections.

“OSHA’s rule does nothing to advance its mission of improving workplace safety,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly. “This rule is well beyond the scope of OSHA’s authority, and it infringes on manufacturers’ right to exclude others from their property, threatens new liabilities and risks compromising manufacturers’ intellectual property. The NAM Legal Center is filing suit to prevent this harm.”

Background:

  • For more than 50 years, OSHA’s walkaround regulation authorized only an employee of an employer to serve as another employee’s representative during an OSHA inspection.
  • In 2013, then-Deputy Assistant Labor Secretary Richard Fairfax issued a letter—commonly referred to as the Fairfax Memo or Sallman Letter—to a member of the Service Workers International Union, which stated that a nonemployee affiliated with a union or community organization could serve as a representative of employees during an OSHA inspection at a worksite without a collective bargaining agreement.
  • In 2017, a trade group challenged the Fairfax Memo as unlawfully issued outside the notice-and-comment process and inconsistent with OSHA’s regulation that authorized only an employee of an employer to serve as another employee’s representative during an OSHA inspection.
  • A federal court in Texas agreed with the trade group, and the Trump administration later rescinded the memo.
  • In August 2023, OSHA released the proposed Walkaround Rule, and the NAM submitted comments urging OSHA to withdraw it.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.89 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Policy and Legal

NAM, State Partners Call for Immediate Senate Action on Tax Bill

a large building

The Senate should immediately pass the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act, the NAM and its state partners told congressional leaders this week.

What’s going on: The NAM—along with 47 state manufacturing associations—on Monday continued its longtime, ongoing advocacy for the tax bill, which would restore three sector-crucial tax provisions: immediate expensing for domestic research and development expenses, enhanced interest deductibility on business loans and 100% accelerated depreciation for capital investments.

  • “This critical legislation will support the ability of manufacturers in America to create jobs, invest in our businesses, give back to our communities and effectively compete in the global economy,” the groups said.

Why it’s important: If Congress fails to restore these key tax provisions, America’s competitiveness on the world stage will be under threat, they continued.

  • “Without tax policies that encourage R&D and capital investment, countries with more favorable tax systems are capturing job-creating manufacturing investments.”
  • China, for example, provides a 200% “super deduction” for companies’ R&D expenses, which is 10 times more than the U.S. gives. In 2022, the first full year following the expiration of immediate R&D expensing in the U.S., China’s R&D growth was three times that of the U.S.

What’s next: The Senate must not delay, the associations said. Congress must pass the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act—now.

The last word: “The breadth and depth of support for these critical, pro-growth tax provisions throughout the manufacturing industry shows the importance of immediate congressional action,” said NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain. “With additional damaging tax increases scheduled for next year, manufacturers cannot afford further delays.”

Business Operations

NAM Gets New International Policy Lead

Former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for World Trade Organization and Multilateral Affairs Andrea Durkin has joined the NAM as vice president of international policy, the NAM announced Monday.

An experienced leader: “Andrea brings a wealth of expertise to the job, with more than three decades of service in both the public and private sectors,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said. “As a leader in international trade negotiations, her deep understanding of international policy will enhance the NAM’s strategic objectives significantly as we continue to build off of successful engagements with our counterparts across Europe and the North American continent.”

  • Durkin is a foremost U.S. expert on international policy, having worked in both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations. In her most recent role, at the USTR in the Executive Office of the President, she negotiated policy regarding issues before the WTO. She also led the operation of committees on technical barriers to trade, industrial subsidies, trade facilitation and more.
  • Her negotiations credentials include free trade agreements in the Western Hemisphere and the trade-related portions of United Nations’ multilateral environment and public health agreements.

A teacher and an entrepreneur: An adjunct professor for 17 years, Durkin taught international trade and investment policy at Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service program.

  • She is also the founder of Sparkplug, LLC, a consulting firm that specialized in advising corporate affairs teams and think tank leaders on organizational strategy.
Press Releases

USTR’s WTO Lead Andrea Durkin to Lead NAM International Policy Team

NAM Advocates Global Trade Strategy That Will Open New Markets with Our Allies and Create Vast Opportunities for Manufacturers in the U.S.

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers announced that former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs Andrea Durkin is joining the NAM as the new vice president of international policy.

“Andrea brings a wealth of expertise to the job, with more than three decades of service in both the public and private sectors. As a leader in international trade negotiations, her deep understanding of international policy will enhance the NAM’s strategic objectives significantly as we continue to build off of successful engagements with our counterparts across Europe and the North American continent,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

“As manufacturers in America look for new ways to reach global markets and the 95% of customers that live outside the borders of the United States, Andrea is set to lead an ambitious expansion of the NAM’s international policy operation. She will work to uphold our commitment to shaping a global trade strategy that opens new markets with our allies and trading partners around the world, which, in turn, will create vast opportunities for manufacturers in the U.S. to create well-paying jobs, innovate and achieve new milestones in improving the quality of life for everyone.”

Durkin is one of the nation’s foremost experts on international policy, drawing from decades of experience serving in Democratic and Republican administrations. As a senior executive in the Office of the President, she led trade negotiations and U.S. policy at the WTO and was responsible for committees on industrial subsidies, technical barriers to trade, government procurement, trade facilitation, customs and others. She was also the U.S. senior official for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Trade Committee, G7 and G20 trade tracks.

In years prior, Durkin served in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, where she led a variety of negotiations, including free trade agreements in the Western Hemisphere, sectoral initiatives in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and trade-related aspects of United Nations’ multilateral environment and public health agreements.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.89 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Policy and Legal

NAM Urges Passage of New MTB Bill

The House should move quickly to pass the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Reform Act, legislation on which the NAM has led advocacy efforts.

What’s going on: On Tuesday, House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Reform Act, which seeks to renew the MTB—a manufacturing-critical law that temporarily removes or reduces tariffs on products not available in the U.S.—as soon as possible.

  • The NAM, which has long urged Congress to take up the issue, lauded the legislation and called for its swift passage.
  • “Historically, the MTB has always had bipartisan support, and we thank House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Adrian Smith for his leadership and efforts to introduce MTB legislation,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram in a statement cited by Chairman Smith’s office. “We urge the House to act quickly so that we can get one step closer to getting this critical legislation to President Biden’s desk.”
  • The last MTB expired in December 2020.

Why it’s important: In the nearly three years that they have been operating without an MTB, manufacturers and other businesses in the U.S. have paid more than $1.3 million a day to get inputs they cannot find in the U.S., according to an NAM analysis.

  • Passing the MTB through 2026, on the other hand, and reauthorizing passage of future MTB cycles will boost U.S. competitiveness.
  • Tariff relief under the previous MTB increased U.S. gross domestic product by up to $3.3 billion every year, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Policy and Legal

NAM: Manufacturers Need a Better Section 301 Exclusion Process

To thrive, create jobs and produce the essential goods the U.S. and our trading partners use every day, the manufacturing sector needs a fair, transparent Section 301 tariff exclusion process, the NAM said Tuesday.

  • However, the tariff increases announced this week by the Biden administration could make it much more difficult for manufacturers to produce those critical items.

What’s going on: As part of the U.S. Trade Representative Office’s final Section 301 tariffs review—which the NAM had long urged the office to complete—President Biden said his administration plans to raise “tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles to roughly 100% … increas[e] a key tariff rate on steel and aluminum products to 25% from 7.5%,” raise the solar-cell tariff to 50% from 25% and create a new 25% duty on shipping cranes, according to Reuters (subscription).

  • Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 authorizes the U.S. to act against foreign trade practices it believes violate agreements. The NAM has been pushing for a finalized report with a fair, transparent Section 301 tariff exclusion process that will both reduce the burden on manufacturers and keep pressure on China to adhere to fair practices.
  • The process would allow manufacturers to ask for tariff exclusions for specific products they need.
  • “The NAM has long advocated for a full global strategy and a rules-based trading system that benefit manufacturers and workers by opening new markets with our allies,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said.

Why it’s important: Far from freeing the U.S. of “unacceptable risks” stemming from unfair Chinese trade practices, in the absence of a new exclusion process, these tariff increases could limit the ability of manufacturers in the U.S. to obtain needed supplies for goods production.

  • This, in turn, could jeopardize U.S. jobs and competitiveness.
  • “Manufacturers are concerned about the potential impact this broad swath of tariffs could have on our ability to produce the essential products needed to drive our economy forward, especially if critical inputs become less available and more costly,” said Timmons.

The background: The USTR is legally required to review Section 301 tariffs four years after they are initiated. This most recent review—started in May 2022—is overdue.

  • The exclusion process the NAM has long requested allows manufacturers to ask for tariff exclusions for specific products they need.

What should be done: “Manufacturers urge the administration to negotiate new trade agreements with allies and partners around the world and create a new, comprehensive and transparent 301 exclusion process to ensure that manufacturing in America is not being disadvantaged by our own government,” Timmons concluded.

Policy and Legal

NAM, Allies: Allow Cross-Border Trade

Manufacturers and other businesses on both sides of the U.S.–Mexico border are feeling the pinch from sudden, intermittent port closures and other government measures being taken to mitigate the ongoing migrant crisis, the NAM and two allied groups told President Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador this week.

What’s going on: Last December, U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporarily shuttered critical rail ports, including San Diego, California, and El Paso and Eagle Pass, Texas, in an effort to stem migration surges, idling nearly 10,000 rail cars on both sides of the border.

  • Last month, the Texas Department of Public Safety renewed safety inspections of vehicles between Texas and Mexico, adding hours to cargo trucks’ border wait times (Freight Waves).

Why it’s important: Port closures and increased vehicle inspections “have significantly increased congestion around ports of entry, caused delays to cross-border trade and harmed productive businesses across industries and their employees,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, Texas Association of Business President and CEO Glenn Hamer and CONCAMIN President Alejandro Malagón.

  • The stoppages “risk making critical supply chains between the United States and Mexico less resilient and dependable.”

What should be done: The U.S. and Mexican governments must commit to creating and abiding by predictable, transparent processes for cross-border trade, the groups urged.

  • In addition to stopping the port closures for commercial freight and trucking, “our two countries should strive to enhance trading ties as the importance of nearshoring and friendshoring accelerates. Doing so will make our manufacturing, energy and agricultural sectors more competitive globally.”
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