By Matt Fearon, President, Genie, a Terex AWP brand

This past September, Genie, a business segment of Terex, and a global manufacturer of aerial work platforms and telehandlers, hosted the third and final stop of the I Make America Town Hall Tour. The town hall presented a timely opportunity for us to engage our team members, and thousands more industry stakeholders online, about the importance of trade policy – especially as elected officials continue to try figure out the best path forward on the issue of tariffs and revisit long-standing U.S. trade relations globally.  

Genie has a 52-year history of leading our industry with an unwavering commitment to safe work practices, innovative new product development and valuable customer support. Like all manufacturers, Genie creates jobs that go well beyond our factory walls and administrative offices. Manufacturing operations create a diverse blend of jobs and career opportunities – many of which do not require a four-year degree. Each of our manufacturing sites depends on a wide group of local and global suppliers, service providers, office suppliers, maintenance services and transport companies. These jobs are the backbone for employment and a tax base for the City of Redmond and our surrounding communities.

Manufacturing has many substantial links with other sectors of our economy that it creates a “multiplier effect” that goes beyond jobs. Recent studies indicate that every dollar worth of output from manufacturing generates between $1.48 and $1.92 in other services and production. In other words, each manufacturing job in a community creates other jobs in that community.

Not only do companies like Genie create jobs that boost local economies, we also design, manufacture and distribute aerial equipment that supports the global construction industry. For example, our parent company, Terex, manufactures aerial work platforms, cranes and materials processing equipment in the U.S, Europe and China. Our businesses use a global supply chain for the engines, pumps, cylinders and other components so the ability to efficiently import and export is very important to our business. Our largest growth opportunities are in the emerging markets outside of North America and Europe.

Town Hall TourGiven that, trade barriers and tariffs, if applied, could potentially slow growth opportunities for Genie and many other companies in our industry.

Analyzing trade policy actions is important because a healthy global trade ecosystem facilitates the ability for companies to find new customers. Additionally, it improves U.S. competitiveness in an increasingly interconnected worldwide economy. For example, The Peterson Institute for International Economics estimates the United States’ trade expansion and access to foreign markets has boosted our economy by $2.1 trillion over the last several decades and has resulted in an $18,000 increase in purchasing power for the average American household.

The federal government’s recently imposed two policy changes that has triggered supply costs to climb. The first involved 232 Tariffs on Aluminum and Steel on imported U.S. mill-produced steel. From November 2017 through March 2018, the cost of U.S. steel plate and coil has climbed over 50 percent, impacting all U.S. produced products. Second, since July 2018, a 25-percent 301 Tariff was imposed on a list of whole goods and components from China. We have seen the impact on imported goods and are now seeing it flow through our suppliers’ imported components. As a result, we implemented steel surcharges and larger than normal price increases, with little time to prepare our customers. We are currently in the process of evaluating our supply chain processes, so as to identify options to maintain our global competitiveness.

To encourage our team members’ involvement in the political process, and for industry professionals to stay informed, we co-hosted I Make America’s Town Hall Tour on Sept. 20 at our Redmond facility, bringing together policy experts to discuss trade trends and their implications. The event drew over 150 attendees in person and more than 2,000 viewers online.

Our culture within Terex, especially at Genie, is built on a strong foundation of partnership, which means listening to the voice of the customer. We are always interested in hearing from experts and local citizens. We believe the more aware people are about the impact trade policy actions present to our local business — they can make better decisions about which policies to support.

The best path forward is one that promotes partnership, where ties with our allies will lead to fair trade and continue our nation’s legacy of leadership in the global economy. That’s why I encourage everyone to continue to get more engaged, using their unique voices to share their stories with elected officials to help encourage pro-manufacturing policies that benefit our entire industry.

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