Leaders of U.S. industry conveyed ideas for revitalizing American manufacturing to Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials at a recent meeting of Biden's Middle Class Task Force. Dan Janka, board chairman of the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology (AMT, www.amtonline.org) and president of MAG (www.mag-ias.com), was part of a group that included representatives of Honeywell, Harley-Davidson, Spirit AeroSystems, Dow Corning, International Paper and Goodyear.
The meeting conveyed ideas on how the government can 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% 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."
Export controls put the domestic machine tool industry at a competitive disadvantage by forbidding export of certain products, said Janka. "These same products, such as five-axis machine tools, are freely produced and exported by our European and Asian competitors," he explained. "Commerce Secretary Gary Locke expressed his commitment to support export control reform and business visa reform," added Janka. "Our industry's inability to export is costing many high-paying jobs."