A Washington, D.C.-based steel trade association is urging the nation's political leaders to support a pro-manufacturing policy agenda that helps improve the international competitiveness of key economic sectors.
The American Iron and Steel Institute wants leaders to address issues such as international trade, tax reform, domestic energy promotion, environmental regulations, transportation and water infrastructure and workforce policy.
The group's board of directors voted last week to approve a public policy agenda for 2013 ahead of President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday.
Thomas Gibson, president and CEO of the group, said in a news release Monday the manufacturing sector's competitiveness is being harmed by not having a national manufacturing agenda.
"In the past decade, 5.6 million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost because of the lack of aggressive policies to promote manufacturing here in America," Gibson said. "We must be diligent in reversing this trend.”
Members of the group said they remain concerned about unfair trade and are pushing for legislation such as the ENFORCE ACT to reduce trade-distorting practices. The act, which was introduced in the Senate last year, would require U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to adhere to a rapid-response timeline to respond to allegations of duty evasion.
The group also wants to reduce the overall tax burden on manufacturers, promote tax incentives for investment in manufacturing plant and equipment and eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax.
The agenda also includes promoting the development of domestic energy sources and industrial energy efficiency efforts, requiring a cost and benefit analysis of environmental regulations at the state and federal levels, reauthorizing the Highway Trust Fund and Water Resource Development Act, and promoting worker health and safety programs.
The American Iron and Steel Institute represents the public policy and business development interests of the North American steel industry.