Five Priorities for American Manufacturing

March 19, 2012
Revitalizing American manufacturing is top of mind to many leaders. One organization is grabbing initiative to take the message to Washington.

The Council on Competitiveness ( has identified five priorities requiring action to revitalize American manufacturing. See also the related article at

The priority recommendations from the five challenges are:
1. Congress should permanently replace the current world-wide double taxation system with a territorial tax system to facilitate the repatriation of earnings and restructure the corporate tax code to increase investment,
stimulate production at scale and neutralize sovereign tax incentive investment packages.
2. Congress, the administration and industry should intensify efforts to support the President’s goal to double exports from $1.8 to $3.6 trillion and reduce the trade deficit by more than 50 percent.
3. Federal, state and local governments along with highschools, universities, community colleges, national laboratories and industry should prioritize
Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and push for greater integration of community colleges in the innovation pipeline.
4. Congress and the administration should leverage R&D investments across the federal research enterprise to solve challenges in sustainable smart manufacturing systems and to ensure a dynamic discovery and innovation pipeline.
5. Congress and the administration should drive the private sector to develop and utilize all sources of energy on a market basis while
enforcing efficiency standards to ensure a sustainable supply of energy to manufacturers.
Fueling the Innovation and Production Economy from Start-up to Scale-up.
Enact fiscal reform, transform tax laws and reduce regulatory and other structural costs and create jobs.
1. Congress should require agencies to begin reducing the costs and burdens of current and proposed regulations.
2. Congress should immediately reform section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to increase entrepreneurs’ access to U.S. public capital markets and grow new companies.
3. Congress should reduce the costs of tort litigation from the current level of almost two percent of GDP—some $248 billion—down to one percent by 2020.
4. Congress and the administration must take action on fiscal reform to achieve $4 trillion in debt reductions by 2021.
Expanding U.S. Exports, Reducing the Trade Deficit, Increasing Market Access
and Responding to Foreign Governments Protecting Domestic Producers.
Utilize multilateral fora, forge new agreements, advance IP protection, standards and export control regimes to grow high value investment and increase exports.
1. Industry CEOs and government leaders should elevate and advance U.S. technical standards and the voluntary consensus standards-setting process.
2. Congress and the administration should ensure the President’s Export Control Reform Initiative is completed by the end of 2012 and push for improved foreign export control systems.
3. Focus on actions to encourage China make permanent the special intellectual property rights campaign it ran from October 2010 to June 2011.
Harnessing the Power and Potential of American Talent to Win the Future Skills Race.
Prepare the next generation of innovators, researchers and skilled workers.
1. Congress should implement immigration reform to ensure the world’s brightest talent innovate and create opportunities in the United States.
2. Congress, states, academia, industry and national laboratories
should renew efforts to expand STEM education and create opportunities to integrate into the workplace.
3. The Small Business Administration (SBA) should create a program modeled after the SCORE program for retired business executives to mentor and counsel entrepreneurs.
4. Industry and labor should develop state-of-the-art apprenticeship programs for 21st century manufacturing.
5. The administration should create a Veterans in Manufacturing Program to create opportunities for America’s soldiers.
6. Academia, industry and government should launch the American Explorers Initiative to send more Americans abroad to study, perform research and work in global businesses.
7. Congress should create opportunities and incentives for older Americans to remain vibrant contributors in the workforce.
Achieving Next-Generation Productivity through Smart Innovation and Manufacturing.
Create national advanced manufacturing clusters, networks and partnerships, prioritize R&D investments, deploy new tools, technologies and facilities, and
accelerate commercialization of novel products and services.
1. Congress, the administration, industry, academia and labor should develop partnerships to create a national network of advanced manufacturing clusters and smart factory ecosystems.
2. Congress, the administration, national laboratories and universities should advance the U.S. manufacturing sector’s use of computational modeling and simulation and move the nation’s High Performance Computing capabilities toward Exascale.
3. The U.S. Department of Commerce through the Economic Development Administration, in partnership with the Council on Competitiveness should
expand the Midwest Project for SME–OEM Use of Modeling and Simulation through the National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium (NDEMC).
4. Accelerate innovation from universities and national laboratories by facilitating greater sharing of intellectual property and incentivizing commercialization.
Creating Competitive Advantage through Next Generation Supply Networks and Advanced Logistics.
Develop and deploy smart, sustainable and resilient energy,
transportation, production and cyber infrastructures.
1. Congress should increase the number of public-private infrastructure partnerships and explore opportunities to privatize large infrastructure projects.
2. Congress should authorize the Export-Import Bank to fund domestic infrastructure projects.
3. Congress should develop and implement a national strategy to reduce overall energy demand by rewarding efficiency and improving transmission infrastructure.
4. Congress and the administration should create a Joint Cyber Command to improve cyber infrastructure and protect traditional defense, commercial and consumer interests.

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