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AMT's push for infrastructure development in America.

Outgoing AMT chairman Larry Rhoades reported to the group's annual meeting that the association is rapidly implementing the strategic plan that it committed to in the Spring meeting.

"Let's look at what we've already accomplished," Rhoades told the meeting. He pointed to formation of a "technology advisory board of experts from industry, government and academia," well-underway with ten board members identified and being recruited.

AMT has commissioned technology assessments to define what's done, and what needs to be done, in specific technology areas to insure a competitive edge. Four of these have been completed, two are assigned, and two more are scheduled for 2004.

The trade association, Rhoades reported, seeks collaborations with other organizations with similar objectives. He pointed to the Coalition for Manufacturing Infrastructure, led by AMT, which includes six member organizations with several more members actively in discussion. "The Coalition's efforts will begin with the Smart Machining Platform Initiative," he stated. The coalition's affiliate member program encourages educational and government groups to join in; a dozen members are expected to be recruited by year-end.

And the group is "hard at work preparing a platform to help its members engage China--helping members intelligently source in that country and expanding AMT offices in Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai."
 The trade association in the past year has
 become more activist in governmental affairs.


An example is its new White Paper, now starting to be promulgated around Washington, entitled, "The Case for A Federal Role in Restoring Manufacturing Technology in America." It's based on an AMT-sponsored study three years ago by economist Joel Popkin that revealed the dramatic, if under-appreciated role that manufacturing technology played during the prosperity of the 1990s.

In one section, the policy document argues that America should elevate manufacturing policy-making to the highest level of government. It states:

"Much has been made of President Bush's September 1,2003, announcement that he intended to appoint an Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing. Editorial writers and columnists with some of the nation's leading newspapers have characterized the proposal as a bureaucratic step.

"But there is great merit in recognizing that federal policies concerning manufacturing must be recognized and discussed at the very highest level of government. The manufacturing sector is responsible for two-thirds of America's exports, and two-thirds of the nation's private investment in research and development. It employs 16.5-million workers who are worded about the future of their jobs and who will be active voters in 2004. It is a linchpin of the entire economy.

"Manufacturing must have a champion appointed by, and answerable to, the President, just as other key segments of the economy such as labor, agriculture, and trade.

"For too long," the AMT document continues, "manufacturing policy has languished in mid-level offices of the federal bureaucracy, subordinated to higher-visibility programs such as trade. But manufacturing is the largest component in American trade. It is a critical element in the nation's overall economic health. It deserves equal stature in the debate over national economic policy."

The White Paper on the federal role goes on to recommend a federal Department of Manufacturing that would give the sector's policy decisions the same importance as policies dealing with energy supply, environmental quality, trade, education, housing, and natural resources, as well as agriculture and labor. It also offers a legislative alternative.

Other sections of "The Case for a Federal Role ..." include

[paragraph] expanding industrial R&D,

[paragraph] promoting fair global competition by ending currency imbalances (taking note of China), and

[paragraph] strengthening national security by enhancing the defense industrial base.

For copies of the White Paper, contact the association (www.AMTonline.org).

AMT--The Assn. for Mfg. Technology, McLean, Va. 703-893-2900.
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Title Annotation:What This Country Needs Is ...
Publication:Metalworking Insiders' Report
Date:Nov 25, 2003
Words:609
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