MFG 2.0

GE And Caterpillar Square Off Vs. US Steel And Nucor's "Buy American" Initiative

Big dustup brewing between heavyweights from two of the biggest sectors of the manufacturing economy as they circle each other in the Congress and the court of public opinion.

According to a Bloomberg story last Friday, GE and Caterpillar are arguing that proposals pushed by companies such as U.S. Steel Corp. and Nucor Corp. to limit spending in the stimulus plan to American-made iron and steel run the risk of igniting a trade war.

Here's one side:
“You would be creating an ample basis for countries to close their markets to U.S. products,” said Karan Bhatia, GE’s senior counsel for international law in Washington, in an interview. Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE, the world’s biggest maker of jet engines and locomotives, gets half its sales from outside the U.S.

...and here's the other:

“If American tax dollars are going to be invested, it seems only rational that American products would be favored,” said Terrence Straub, vice president for government relations at U.S. Steel. “The whole intention is to stimulate the creation of American jobs.”

And here I thought GE and Caterpillar were busy competing to see who could lay more workers off in 2009.

Whose side are you on?

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