RaimondoU.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo met with 25 equipment manufacturing executives and AEM staff to discuss the policies needed to spur innovation and growth, create more family-sustaining jobs, and help American workers and equipment manufacturers compete in the global economy. In her opening remarks, Secretary Raimondo stressed the importance of working with the equipment manufacturing industry and the broader business community to advance shared priorities. 

“Whether its tariffs, or trade, or job training, my focus is squarely on strengthening American manufacturing, and making American businesses more competitive in the global economy,” the Secretary said. 

“Equipment manufacturers are grateful for the opportunity to meet with Secretary Raimondo, and we look forward to working with her to create more family-sustaining jobs, empower equipment manufacturers to innovate and grow, and help American workers and businesses compete,” said AEM President Dennis Slater. “The Secretary outlined a bold vision for how to address the most pressing issues facing the equipment manufacturing industry, including connecting every American with high-speed internet, building a 21st-century workforce, and promoting free and fair trade, and we stand ready to support her in this effort.” 

AEM Board Chair Steve Berglund highlighted the importance of affordable, reliable, high-speed internet in both urban and rural areas, while also pointing out how a significant investment in broadband infrastructure can also help the Biden-Harris administration achieve some of its key priorities, including emissions reductions, workforce development, and increased global competitiveness. 

“We appreciate Secretary Raimondo’s steadfast focus on enhancing the competitiveness of equipment manufacturing in America, building a 21st-century workforce, and ensuring a stronger, more equitable, and more resilient economy,” said Berglund.

Secretary Raimondo shared details from President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which calls for a $100 billion investment to bring affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every American, including the more than 35 percent of rural Americans who lack access to broadband at minimally acceptable speeds. She also emphasized the Biden-Harris administration’s plan to boost manufacturing competitiveness by investing in R&D and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP). 

One of the most pressing challenges facing equipment manufacturers is the rising cost of raw materials and the continued stress on supply chains as a result of protracted trade disputes with the European Union and China. Secretary Raimondo acknowledged the heartburn that tariffs have caused equipment manufacturers and indicated that she is working on finding a better solution to address the unfair trade practices of U.S. trading partners. She also recognized the rapidly approaching June 1, 2021 date, when EU tariffs on American goods are set to double to 50%. 

Secretary Raimondo concluded the meeting by sharing her experiences as an investor and entrepreneur, as well as her efforts as Governor of Rhode Island to launch several groundbreaking workforce development programs that provided workers the education they needed to take advantage of real and ready jobs. Secretary Raimondo underscored her desire to work with the private sector to scale the same approach nationally. 

AEM looks forward to working with Secretary Raimondo to help her tackle our nation’s greatest challenges, help all Americans recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and create a stronger, resilient, and more inclusive economy.

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