Made in USA: Growing Panes for a High-Tech Window Company

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SageGlass was bought by a French company but its manufacturing remains in the United States. Operations director David Pender talks about the pros and cons of this arrangement.

SageGlass invented dynamic glass—“tint on demand” windows that use special coatings and low voltages of electricity to filter out varying degrees of light. The small company started in 1989 in New York, but eventually moved to Faribault, Minnesota, 50 miles south of Minneapolis, because the area was developing a reputation for its innovation in window manufacturing.

Then in 2012, French building materials manufacturer Saint-Gobain acquired SageGlass. Although the unmet demand for dynamic glass was mainly in Europe, Saint-Gobain chose to keep production in Minnesota, build a new plant there, and convert the old plant to a research and development facility. The new facility can coat panes of glass that are more than twice the size of the old ones.

David Pender, director of operations at SageGlass (who previously spent 11 years in Germany working for Saint Gobain), talked about the challenges and advantages of keeping SageGlass’s manufacturing and R&D in the United States:

Challenge: Europe has the most growth potential, but our manufacturing facility is in the U.S.

Western Europe is a little further along than the U.S. in building codes. What’s considered extremely exotic here … is considered almost normal in Europe. Getting the supply chain right to be able to produce everything from what’s acceptable in the U.S. to what’s expected in Europe poses a certain amount of challenge. We’ve got to be sourcing some things from Europe, to make the products here and then shift them back to Europe. That doesn’t make too much sense at the moment, but we are trying to grow this market worldwide. Europe is growing very, very quickly because the Saint-Gobain name in Europe is a big plus.

Advantage: The highest demand for the product is still in the U.S.

Overall, we’re on a three to four times year-over-year expansion. So this year we’ll produce three to four times what we did in 2016. Which is a phenomenal growth rate, and that’s set to continue as we grow in the Europe, in the U.S. and the Middle East. We just got our first really big job in China. In the future, this facility will get to capacity and just produce in North America, and there will probably be another facility doing something similar in Europe—and who knows how that will do going forward.

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Trump tells manufacturers he will cut regulations, taxes, but must reshore

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Reuters

US Manufacturing Races Against ‘Biological Clock’

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By Michael Kling

Updated By Adam Reiser

John Ratzenberger on FOX NEWS Neil Cavuto

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/3974724693001/john-ratzenberger-on-trade-schools-as-college-alternative/?#sp=show-clips

The lack of young people entering the manufacturing field threatens the future of the U.S. manufacturing renaissance, warns a new study.

Older workers, who dominate manufacturing, are leaving the work force in droves, but few young people are entering the field to replace them, according to the study from information and technology company ThomasNet.com. The study included responses from 1,209 engineers and purchasing agents, business owners and managers and sales and marketing executives from manufacturers, distributors and service companies.

Over three-fourths of manufacturing employees are 45 and older, the survey indicates.

“With Generation Y (18 to 32 years old) expected to make up 75 percent of the work force by 2025, and older employees exiting in droves, manufacturing’s ‘biological clock’ is ticking away,” the report notes.

Yet most manufacturers show a lack of urgency to fill their pipeline with skilled workers.

Three-quarters of companies surveyed say 25 percent or less of their work force are in the Generation Y age group. While 29 percent say they will increase employment of Generation Y workers in the next two years, almost half expect their numbers to stay the same.

Manufacturers say negative perceptions about work in their industry prompts young people to avoid the sector. But instead of being dirty, boring work, modern manufacturing is a high-tech world of computer-aided design and production. Half of survey respondents say a career in their industry provides satisfaction as well as competitive wages and benefits.

The shortage of skilled workers comes at a time when the industry is rebounding. Over half of manufacturers grew in 2012 and nearly two-thirds expect to grow this year. Nearly seven out of 10 will introduce new products this year.

“Considering that many companies (42 percent) are increasing employee headcount this year, the time to cultivate a new work force is now,” the study stresses.

Lack of basic skills in young workers is a drawback.

Manufacturers are developing partnerships with schools to help improve training and increase their emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “The jury is out on whether these efforts alone will be enough,” the study says.

The United States is well-positioned to revitalize its manufacturing sector, says Philip Odette, president of Global Supply Chain Solutions, in an article for ManufacturingNet, an industry news site.

“The only thing missing is enough skilled workers to maintain the momentum.”

Companies must work to educate young people about the advantages of a career in manufacturing, he explains.

“Even something as simple as recording yourself demonstrating a process can boost the credibility of your company and increase its presence in the minds of students and teachers in your local area,” he advises. “Videos of new equipment or an impressive process don’t have to be reserved to sales pitches — they can be investments in attracting a new work force.”

Source: http://www.moneynews.com/Economy/manufacturing-skill-workers-US/2013/11/07/id/535317

New F-35 Fighter Jet Designs Nearly Stolen by China National

 

New F-35 Fighter Jet Designs Nearly Stolen by China National

The Chinese regime nearly got its hands on new designs for America’s latest fighter jet. New designs that could cut costs in producing the F-35 advanced fighter jet were found in the luggage of a Chinese national who was traveling from New York to China. Read more of this post

Made-in-USA label pays off for investors

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Adam Shell, USA TODAY

NEW YORK — The benefits of the Made-in-the-USA marketing tag now apply to stocks as well as shoes, SUVs and software.

How so? With Europe hobbled by debt, white-hot China cooling and emerging markets slowing, stocks of U.S. companies that get most of their revenue from U.S.-based sales are performing better than companies that do 50% or more of their sales abroad, where things aren’t going as well.

The part of the world where a company makes most of its money can be the difference between a great investment and an OK one. In the past 12 months, U.S. stocks that generate all sales at home are up an average of 18.6%, vs. a gain of 6.2% for American firms that get more than half their revenue from abroad, Bespoke Investment Group says.

“A major theme of 2013 has clearly been a preference for U.S.-centric stocks,” says Paul Hickey, Bespoke’s co-founder. Why? “The U.S., relative to the rest of the world, is the strongest economy.”

That trend helped drive the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to an all-time closing high Thursday and a 10% first-quarter gain.

Domestically focused companies are also sporting better earnings growth, as well as benefiting from inflows of capital from foreign investors that view the U.S. as a haven, Hickey says.

One of Wall Street’s biggest winners this year is media subscription service Netflix, which gets less than 3% of its sales outside the U.S., says S&P Dow Jones Indices. Netflix shares are up 104%. In contrast, tech player Qualcomm, which gets nearly 97% of revenue from abroad and recently warned of slowing growth in Asia, is up 8.2%.

 Nearly half, or 46%, of sales of companies in the S&P 500 occur overseas, says Howard Silverblatt, an analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Analysts also see positives in the All-American story, as they’ve been issuing more positive earnings revisions than negative ones in the past four weeks.

The U.S. market, and particularly, domestically focused names, have held up better than foreign stock markets recently following the “Cyprus Surprise,” the latest bailout in the eurozone to spook global investors. Also driving the better performance is the spate of better-than-expected economic data this month, which prompted Barclays to raise its first-quarter U.S. GDP estimate to 2.6% from 1.6%.

While U.S. shares have performed better than a broad index of foreign stocks for more than two years, the outperformance has been particularly acute since late 2012, when the U.S. averted a fiscal crisis and election-related political gridlock weighed on sentiment.

“Once the ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations were settled, U.S. stocks rebounded and haven’t looked back,” Hickey says.

 

source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2013/03/31/american-centric-stocks-sport-big-gains/2022159/

US Swipes at China for Hacking Allegations

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The U.S. has taken its first real swipe at China following accusations that the Beijing government is behind a widespread and systemic hacking campaign targeting U.S. businesses.

Buried in a spending bill signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday is a provision that effectively bars much of the federal government from buying information technology made by companies linked to the Chinese government.

It’s unclear what impact the legislation will have, or whether it will turn out to be a symbolic gesture. The provision only affects certain non-defense government agency budgets between now and Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends. It also allows for exceptions if an agency head determines that buying the technology is “in the national interest of the United States.”

Still, the rule could upset U.S. allies whose businesses rely on Chinese manufacturers for parts and pave the way for broader, more permanent changes in how the U.S. government buys technology.

“This is a change of direction,” said Stuart Baker, a former senior official at the Homeland Security Department now with the legal firm Steptoe and Johnson in Washington. “My guess is we’re going to keep going in this direction for a while.”

In March, the U.S. computer security firm Mandiant released details on what it said was an aggressive hacking campaign on American businesses by a Chinese military unit. Since then, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has used high-level meetings with Beijing officials to press the matter. Beijing has denied the allegations.

Congressional leaders have promised to push comprehensive legislation that would make it easier for industry to share threat data with the government. But those efforts have been bogged down amid concerns that too much of U.S. citizens’ private information could end up in the hands of the federal government.

As Congress and privacy advocates debate a way ahead, lawmakers tucked “section 516” into the latest budget resolution, which enables the government to pay for day-to day operations for the rest of the fiscal year. The provision specifically prohibits the Commerce and Justice departments, NASA and the National Science Foundation from buying an information technology system that is “produced, manufactured or assembled” by any entity that is “owned, operated or subsidized” by the People’s Republic of China.

The agencies can only acquire the technology if, in consulting with the FBI, they determine that there is no risk of “cyberespionage or sabotage associated with the acquisition of the system,” according to the legislation.

The move might sound like a no-brainer. If U.S. industry and intelligence officials are right, and China is stealing America’s corporate secrets at a breathtaking pace, why reward Beijing with lucrative U.S. contracts? Furthermore, why install technical equipment that could potentially give China a secret backdoor into federal systems?

But a blanket prohibition on technology made by the Chinese government may be easier said than done. Information systems are often a complicated assembly of parts manufactured by different companies around the globe. And investigating where each part came from, and if that part is made by a company that could have ties to the Chinese government could be difficult.

Depending on how the Obama administration interprets the law, Baker said it could cause problems for the U.S. with the World Trade Organization, whose members include U.S. allies like Germany and Britain that might rely on Chinese technology to build computers or handsets.

But in the end, Baker says it could make the U.S. government safer and wiser.

“We do have to worry about buying equipment from companies that may not have our best interests at heart,” he said.

———

Follow Anne Flaherty on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AnneKFlaherty.

Also Read

 

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/us-swipes-china-hacking-allegations-193407762.html

“Buying American” Generally Matters More to Women Than Men

Harris Importance of Buying American March 2013 woman

A majority of American adults believe that it is important to “buy American” across a variety of product types, according to results from a Harris Interactive survey, even if the definition of what constitutes an “American” product is not universally shared by respondents. Interestingly, while there were few gaps in the importance placed on “buying American” among Republicans and Democrats responding to the survey, women were more likely than men to feel it more important for each product category identified.

For example, women were:

  • 11% more likely to consider “buying American” important when purchasing major appliances (79% vs. 71%);
  • 10% more likely to consider it important for furniture purchases (78% vs. 71%);
  • 15% more likely to place importance on this factor when buying clothing (77% vs. 67%);
  • 14% more likely to find it important for car purchases (74% vs. 65%); and
  • 20% more likely to consider it important when buying home electronics (72% vs. 60%).

On each count, 18-35-year-olds were significantly less likely than any other generation to believe that “buying American” is important to them.

The survey finds that the definition of what constitutes “buying American” isn’t universally agreed upon. Three-quarters agree that a product needs to be manufactured within the US for them to consider it “American,” while a slight majority believe that it needs to be made by an American company for them to consider it “American.” Close behind, 47% agree that a product needs to be made from parts produced in the US for them to consider it “American.”

As the researchers note, the company perceived by respondents to be the most “American” – Ford – increasingly has cars which include parts produced abroad. Other companies showing up in the most “American” list – such as GE and Levi Strauss – also outsource some of their operations overseas.

Regardless of the extent to which these companies’ products meet consumer definitions, “Made in America” packaging can influence consumers. A study released last year by Perception Research Services found that about 8 in 10 shoppers notice “Made in the USA” claims in packaging, and about three-quarters of those believe that such claims make them more likely to buy the product.

According to the Harris survey results, the most commonly-cited important reasons for “buying American” are to keep jobs in America (90%), to support American companies (87%), and due to quality (83%) and safety (82%) concerns with products assembled outside of the US.

About the Data: The Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 12 and 18, 2012 among 2,176 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Data for the “What company do you consider to be most ‘American’” question was conducted online within the United States between January 2 and 4, 2012 among 2,126 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Source: http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/topics/automotive/buying-american-generally-matters-more-to-women-than-men-27559

 

o learn more about Made in USA Certification: http://www.USA-C.com

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China’s hacking, brought to you by U.S. trade policy.

 

 

China and US Flag

Dear Friend,

Washington still doesn’t get it. We’ve known for years that China hacks government networks, industry computers, and advocacy groups like ours.

A study released last week by a Virginia-based cyber-security company confirms this: The Chinese military is responsible for a series of sophisticated computer hacking attacks on more than 140 American companies.

These hackers have stolen everything from product design blueprints to business strategies, and have also made a persistent effort to gain access to the controls of our infrastructure, including oil and gas pipelines and our electrical grid.

The Obama administration has known about China’s cyber hacking for some time. But the White House has sat on its hands because it believes calling Beijing out for cheating could undermine our overall relationship. In fact, the Administration still sometimes refrains from specifically identifying China as the hacking extraordinaire it’s proving itself to be.

News flash: When China uses its military to steal from American companies, it undermines our relationship. And when it starts groping for a hand on our power switch, we need to rethink what we’re getting in return.

Our official strategy — twisting like a pretzel to avoid offending the Chinese government (even when we catch them stealing from us) — is clearly not working. So why not try something else?

We run an enormous trade deficit with China every year, including a record $315 billion in 2012.  China uses that money to spy on us. So here’s an idea: Why not use our trade relationship to force Beijing to play by the rules?

Contrary to what some Washington insiders suggest, getting tough on China’s cheating won’t start a trade war. Just like anyone else, China responds to pressure. In fact, when Washington has actually moved to address China’scurrency manipulation, Beijing has responded by budging the value of its currency incrementally (see the chart, above).

Yes, we have a large, complex relationship with China.  But it’s really not rocket science: Calling out Beijing for flouting the rules gets results, a point I made this morning in an editorial for CNBC.

If China’s cyber-hacking concerns you, keep yourself up to date.  Follow the conversation on our blog, ManufactureThis, and on TwitterFacebookPinterest, and Tumblr.

Together, we can keep it Made in America!

Sincerely,

Scott Paul
President
Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM)

China nears approval of $16 billion domestic jet-engine plan

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s cabinet may soon approve an aircraft engine development program that will require investment of at least 100 billion yuan ($16 billion), state-run Xinhua news agency quoted unidentified industry sources as saying.

China is determined to reduce its dependency on foreign companies like Boeing Co (BA), EADS-owned Airbus (EAD.PA), General Electric Co (GE) and Rolls Royce Plc (RR.TO) for the country’s soaring demand for planes and engines.

So far the domestic aerospace industry has failed to build a reliable, high-performance jet engine to end its dependence on Russian and Western makers for equipping its military and commercial aircraft.

Xinhua on Thursday quoted an unidentified professor at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA) with knowledge of the project as saying the investment would be used mainly for research on technology, designs and materials related to aircraft engine manufacturing.

The project was going through approval procedures in the State Council and may be approved shortly, the professor was quoted as saying.

Participants in the project include Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine Group Corp, AVIC Xi’an Aero-Engine (Group) Ltd <600893.SS> and research institutes including the BUAA, Xinhua reported.

Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the country’s dominant military and commercial aviation contractor, had lobbied the government to back a multi-billion dollar plan to build a high-performance jet engine.

China’s military and aerospace industries have suffered from bans on the sale of military equipment imposed by Western governments after the Tiananmen Square crackdown and foreign engine-makers are reluctant to transfer costly technology.

Some Chinese aviation industry specialists forecast Beijing will eventually spend up to 300 billion yuan ($49 billion) on jet-engine development over the next two decades.

($1 = 6.2273 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Matt Driskill)

Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/china-nears-approval-16-billion-082429899.html

How Ending Currency Manipulation Will Help Manufacturers

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Many American economists and policymakers believe that currency manipulation by U.S. trading partners such as Japan and Singapore – and especially China – creates a drag on the U.S. economy and depresses the country’s manufacturing sector.

Currency Manipulation

Currency manipulation by U.S. trading partners such as Japan and Singapore – and especially China – creates a drag on the U.S. economy and depresses the country’s manufacturing sector.

Currency manipulation involves artificially reducing the value of a country’s own currency, in effect providing a subsidy for national exports. Currency manipulators often buy U.S. treasury bonds to prevent their own currencies from strengthening. In the case of China, the country’s trade with the U.S. brings in an excess of U.S. dollars and would normally create a shortage of yuans. But to avoid the yuan’s appreciation and prop up its manufacturing sector, China buys up U.S. treasuries to keep the yuan out of currency exchange markets, thus maintaining an artificially low value.

About one out of every six U.S. private-sector jobs is in manufacturing, 17.2 million in total, according to the National Association of Manufacturers(NAM). However, manufacturing dominates when it comes to U.S. trade goods, accounting for 86 percent of exports in 2011, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) says. So a U.S. trade deficit, exacerbated by currency manipulation, has a disproportionately negative effect on the manufacturing sector.

Robert E. Scott, Helen Jorgensen, and Doug Hall of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) explain that reviving the crucial U.S. manufacturing sector “requires eliminating a jobs-destroying U.S. trade deficit in goods,” in large part by ending currency manipulation. Currency manipulation, the group says, “distorts international trade flows by artificially lowering the cost of U.S. imports and raising the cost of U.S. exports,” thereby displacing American manufacturing jobs.

Eliminating currency manipulation would reduce the U.S. trade goods deficit by at least $190 billion and as much as $400 billion over three years, allowing the U.S. to “reap enormous benefits” without any increase in federal spending or taxation. This would reduce U.S. unemployment by 1 to 2.1 percentage points and create between 2.2 million and 4.7 million jobs; between 620,000 and 1.3 million of those jobs would be in manufacturing. In addition, U.S. GDP would increase between 1.4 percent and 3.1 percent.

The Group of Seven (G7) top industrial nations is concerned that continued currency manipulation is creating dangerous instability in the global economy. The organization, which is comprised of the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.K., recently saidits members are committed to market-determined exchange rates and “will remain oriented towards meeting our respective domestic objectives using domestic instruments.”

The G7 affirmed that they “will not target exchange rates” – meaning they themselves refuse to be involved in currency manipulation. “We are agreed that excessive volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability,” the group declared.

Artificially lowering a country’s exchange rate can make its exports cheaper and promote growth internally, but that only causes problems for other countries because one currency can fall only if another rises. This imbalance, the EPI warns, “could spark a ‘currency war’ – a destabilizing battle where countries compete against one another to get the lowest exchange rate.” This scenario “conjures up images of the 1930s, when countries pursued tit-for-tat devaluations in order to get an edge… the outcome was to decimate global trade, accentuate the depression, and sow the seeds for World War II,” according to the institute.

 

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), argued that policymakers need to act now to prevent further harm from unfair trade practices.

“Congress is obsessed with the wrong deficit,” Paul said. “To grow jobs and boost the economy, we must eliminate the trade deficit. Ending currency manipulation will get us part of the way there, but we also need a smart manufacturing policy, one that focuses on innovation, public investment, skills, and trade enforcement.”

According to the EPI report, any U.S president could end currency manipulation with a stroke of the pen: “The president could simply declare that the United States will no longer sell Treasury bills and other government assets to China and other countries that refuse to allow the United States to purchase their government assets… Refusing to sell assets to currency manipulators would eliminate the principal tool used by foreign central banks to manipulate their currencies: purchases of Treasury bills and other government securities…”

Olli Rehn, top monetary affairs official for the European Commission (EC), told the Associated Press that joint governmental efforts are needed to fight the adverse effects of “excess volatility and disorderly movements” in exchange rates. “That’s why we need to lean on active international policy coordination in order to prevent a wave of competitive devaluations.”

 

 

Source: http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/2013/02/26/how-ending-currency-manipulation-will-help-manufacturers/

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