Supporting Free Trade and Growing Manufacturing Not Mutually Exclusive
The Presidential race has brought intense focus on U.S. trade agreements and, specifically, the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership to open markets between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries. Unfortunately, much of the focus has been negative, with the two major party nominees taking vocal stances against the TPP and highlighting concerns about its possible impact on U.S. manufacturing jobs. While a debate on the merits of TPP is important, it should not exclude a separate discussion about what California and the U.S. can and should be doing to bolster our manufacturing economy.
Free trade agreements alone do not dictate the direction of U.S. manufacturing, and fiery political rhetoric creates an easy distraction from addressing some of the real issues. That point is made clear in a recent report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute titled Reinventing Manufacturing: How the Transformation of Manufacturing is Creating New Opportunity for California. The report examines the evolving manufacturing sector in California and offers a series of recommendations for strengthening the sector that should be pursued regardless of TPP, which the Bay Area Council strongly supports. The Council recently shared a summary of the report with Senator Dianne Feinstein following a discussion with her about TPP and manufacturing. And we continue our advocacy for growing manufacturing jobs in California and the Bay Area.