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Industry Groups Ask Obama to Take 'Pro-Manufacturing' Stance in Address

Oil and gas development and fair trade are top issues.

Manufacturing trade groups hope President Obama will discuss his plans to open more energy resources in the United States and address trade-enforcement issues during his State of the Union speech tonight.

The American Petroleum Institute is calling for a "course correction" by the president on current restrictions to oil and gas production. Specifically, API wants the president to open more offshore areas and federal land to oil and gas development, said API President and CEO Jack Gerard during a Jan. 24 conference call with reporters.

Gerard referenced a recent Energy Information Administration report that shows offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico will drop an estimated 35% next year. New federal oil and gas leases were down 44% from 2009 through 2010 compared with the previous two years, Gerard said.

"The truth is, that the administration has sometimes paid lip service to more domestic energy development, including more oil and natural gas development," Gerard said. "We hope today is different and that after tonight he will follow through."

President Obama will reportedly focus on manufacturing, domestic energy production and workforce training as a "blueprint" for revitalizing the economy, according to Bloomberg news service.

Gerard credited EIA figures showing increased natural gas and oil production to the oil and gas industry's development of resources on private lands.

"The industry can only develop in places where it has access," Gerard said.

Steel industry calls for fair trade

Meanwhile, the American Iron and Steel Institute issued a statement calling for a tougher stance on trade-law enforcement, a long-term transportation bill and development of oil and gas resources.

"I'd like to hear the president articulate a strong message on trade enforcement," said AISI President and CEO Thomas Gibson. "Strong and strictly enforced laws against unfair trade must be the cornerstone of any pro-manufacturing agenda."

The rising number of imports and currency manipulation by China have given foreign competitors an unfair advantage over U.S. steel producers, Gibson said.

A multiyear transportation reauthorization bill would help restore the nation's infrastructure system while putting thousands of Americans back to work, Gibson said.

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