By Kip Eideberg, AEM Vice President, Public Affairs and Advocacy
The United States is home to thousands of manufacturers, including hundreds of equipment manufacturers, suppliers and industry service providers. And some of those manufacturers are the result of foreign-based businesses who have decided to pour investment into our country – a reflection on the status of the United States as one of the friendliest places to do business.
The fact is, while some on the campaign trail this year have pitted manufacturers against each other just because of their foreign-based headquarters, these manufacturers all support thousands of jobs here in the United States each year. It is easy to look at AEM’s membership and see how many manufacturers based around the globe are contributing to our economy and jobs here.
For instance, according to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, manufacturers contributed 2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2015, a figure that has steadily risen since the second quarter of 2009.
But it is not just home-grown companies that contribute to the United States’ manufacturing prowess. Foreign-owned firms contributed $1,045.5 billion to the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2015. In fact, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the form of both companies as well as infrastructure projects directly supported 6.4 million jobs in 2014.
Foreign-owned firms that set up shop in the United States take advantage of our large market for their goods, but also the colleges and universities that make the U.S. a research and development powerhouse. Companies such as CLAAS, Kubota, Doosan and Hydrema, a Danish manufacturer that recently celebrated the opening of its new North American headquarters, employ American workers at an average annual wage of $80,041. These jobs in turn support communities across our country and the products they manufacture drive our economy’s agriculture, construction and infrastructure sectors.
Foreign direct investment is also important to American-owned manufacturers. Foreign companies make significant capital investments and contribute to the local tax base as they set up and expand their U.S. operations. Increasingly, foreign companies are investing in American infrastructure. Roads, railways, bridges and ports that are built with American equipment serve as important conduits for our members’ goods to get to markets both here in the United States and across the globe.
Recently the state of Maryland and a Japanese company signed a letter of cooperation for the development of a Maglev train route between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., cutting what is currently a one-hour trip on a traditional train down to 15 minutes on a high-speed train. This would not only create additional jobs in the construction sector, but also expand opportunities for both cities and improve the regional economies.
Foreign-owned companies have played a crucial role in building America. This election year we have traveled around the country with our I Make America campaign to fiercely advocate for pro-manufacturing policies that affect our community of equipment manufacturers.
Ensuring that our local, state and federal elected officials remain friendly to foreign direct investment will ensure a strong equipment manufacturing sector, expand and preserve economic growth and help us make America for years to come.