Will Biden Infrastructure Plan and Trade Changes Boost IEM?
Changes in the national political landscape inevitably have a significant impact on the business environment. And the Biden Administration, working with the Democratic Party-controlled U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, already is proposing transformative change to the nation’s economic policy.
The first of these changes will be a historic investment in infrastructure. In April, President Biden announced the widely anticipated American Jobs Plan, an eight-year, $2.25 trillion economic package that includes $1.3 trillion for infrastructure spending and $980 billion for programs that, among other things, will support manufacturing, research & development and workforce enhancement.
The view from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) is that the plan will positively impact the IEM industry. But the trade group has some concerns.
“The investments proposed reflect the comprehensive approach to upgrading U.S. infrastructure that AEM and the industry have long championed,” an AEM statement noted. “Unfortunately, if advocating for federal investment in infrastructure has taught AEM anything over the years, it is that there are big hurdles to overcome in the legislative process.”
The AEM’s concerns include Republican criticism and resistance, funding sources and whether the bill will jeopardize Congressional reauthorization of the critical “Highway Bill,” which expires September 30.
AEM applauded the workforce enhancement component, and pointed out that AEM has advocated for many of the provisions. “Overall, the workforce
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development proposals in the American Jobs Plan prioritize investments that have been neglected by the federal government,” AEM said. “That is welcome news for equipment manufacturers.”
Trade, too, will see changes, AEM said. The American Jobs Plan proposes investment in ports, waterways and airports to improve the speed and efficiency of the transit of goods. And AEM highlighted the Biden Administration’s call for $50 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and research, with the goal of accelerating and shortening the supply chains for critical industrial equipment components.
Want another take on the changes to come? Politics and trade were two of the topics discussed in a recent Ultra/Industry Week webinar (sponsored by Sage). Economist Dr. Chris Kuehl said that a shift in trade policy, including a turn away from the tariffs of the previous administration, a new emphasis on exports, and a focus on nurturing U.S. manufacturing jobs, will likely give manufacturers in all industries a boost.