U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today urged U.S. businesses to evaluate the benefits of reshoring their operations back to the United States during remarks at the "Reinvesting in America, Creating Jobs at Home" forum on Capitol Hill. Pritzker joined U.S. Representative Frank Wolf (R-Va.) in hosting the forum which focused on raising awareness of reshoring trends, highlighting best practices for companies considering reshoring, and introducing services offered by the Department of Commerce to potential investors. Attendees discussed how bringing operations back to the U.S. creates well-paying jobs and helps national and local economies grow and thrive.
"A growing number of global companies are realizing there has never been a better time to invest in America. Many of them are finding that the total cost of production and other expenses related to manufacturing abroad can carry costs and risks that outweigh the benefits and are considering domestic operations, "said Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce. "Businesses across the globe are looking to invest in U.S. manufacturing and services, and through SelectUSA, the Commerce Department is continuing its work to support and educate companies interested in reshoring."
"This is not a Democrat issue or a Republican issue; it's an American issue," said Rep. Frank Wolf, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Commerce Department and was the driving force behind today's conference. "We have an opening now to accelerate the process of bringing these jobs back home. Many companies that have offshored are unhappy with the quality of goods produced overseas. Labor costs are rising rapid. Shipping costs are rising rapidly. The cost due to the theft of intellectual property by the Chinese government is almost incalculable. That's why there has been so much more interest in reshoring manufacturing over the last several years. I believe this trend will continue to accelerate, especially with encouragement from the government and business community. A great nation cannot survive by exporting ideas and innovations alone. It needs to also produce these items as well. Our future depends on it."
The Forum--organized by SelectUSA, a program housed within the Department of Commerce--brought together more than 200 members of the business community, representatives of state and local governments, national associations, and congressional staff, to hear directly from American business leaders and companies that are reshoring, and learn more about the latest trends and available resources to help businesses move their operations back to the United States.
Whirlpool Corporation Chief Executive Officer Jeff Fettig delivered keynote remarks and described how his company's decision to move production of a line of front-load commercial washers from abroad to Clyde, Ohio, is creating new jobs and positively impacting the local economy.
Participants learned more about Walmart's commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in U.S. products over the course of 10 years, and heard from companies successful in reshoring: K'NEX Brands, a toy manufacturer; Mantra Services, an IT services provider; and the Richelieu Legwear, makers of Peds brand socks and other legwear. Yesterday, Richelieu Legwear International, Inc., a SelectUSA client, announced its investment in a new, state-of-the-art facility that will reshore production from overseas and ultimately create more than 200 jobs here in the U.S.
To help U.S. manufacturers gauge factors that may influence their total cost of doing business and more clearly understand the advantages of the U.S. market, the Economic and Statistics Administration launched an updated Assess Costs Everywhere (ACE) tool during the forum. ACE, which links to public and private resources, as well as case studies, will be used across the Department of Commerce as officials work one-on-one with businesses and local governments across the country.
The United States is consistently ranked among the top destinations for investment. Earlier this month, A.T. Kearney's annual Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index ranked the United States as the top investment destination for the second year in a row, with the highest net positive position in the 16-year history of the index. In addition, the Boston Consulting Group found that the share of U.S. executives actively considering relocating manufacturing from China back to the United States rose to 54 percent in 2013, compared with 37 percent only 18 months earlier.
In addition to managing costs, successful manufacturing depends on the right competitive advantages, which America provides. The U.S. has one of the most skilled and productive workforces, and is making it a priority to build the skills that are in high demand. The nation also remains the most innovative place in the world, home to more than a third of total global R&D investment, as well as 15 of the top 25 leading research universities. Advanced technology, including robotics and 3-D printing, are enabling U.S. manufacturers to drastically cut time to market and make better -- and more customized -- products.