Reader Reply: NAM Responds

I was greatly disappointed to read Doug Bartholomew's erroneous account of an alleged "civil war" between large and small manufacturers, and even more disappointed to read your ill-informed criticism of the National Association of Manufacturers. In particular, the statement in your editorial that the NAM views smaller manufacturers' concerns about trade policy as "not realistic" is in error. We made no such statement; the quote was from the reporter's story, not the NAM source. In reality, the NAM's trade policy is more reflective of small company concerns than that of any other broad-based trade association.

We have a diverse membership at the NAM that is well represented on our Board of Directors and advisory committees. The concerns of our small and medium-sized members about China's unfair trade policies are front and center of our agenda. We have single-handedly led the fight against China's currency manipulation -- a fact which you grudgingly acknowledge -- and against other unfair trade practices in general. The challenge, and it is a daunting one, is to persuade some major trading partners to play by the rules without setting off a destructive round of protectionism.

Your comment about CAFTA is also without basis. Our trade deficit with countries with which we have free trade agreements is shrinking rapidly -- down 25 percent this year - even as it rises with countries without free trade agreements.

The members of the NAM speak with one voice on the core challenges to our ability to compete: reducing production costs at home, achieving a level playing field with our foreign trading partners, preparing a 21st century workforce and encouraging more investment in R&D and productivity. Small and medium-sized manufacturers have a strong voice in setting our agenda and policies. To suggest otherwise is simply wrong.

Sincerely,

John Engler
President
NAM

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