Italy delivers a pep talk for American manufacturing
Italian Trade Commission speech points to strengths in U.S. markets here and globally
The head of the Chicago office of the Italian Trade Commission offered a strong endorsement of the strength of the U.S. manufacturing market and the need for global innovation in manufacturing. Italian Trade Commissioner Dr. Pasquale Bova spoke at a gala dinner during the IMTS show in Chicago in September.
The dinner highlighted the European Machine Tool Conference, EMO , which will take place
Dr. Bova's comments pointed to the challenges that still exist in global markets, but also to the strength of the U.S. market and the need for continued innovation.
Dr. Bova said:
"The globalization of the markets in recent years, has led to deep changes across the manufacturing landscape. New and challenging scenarios are on the horizon with increasing costs of energy, the loss of value to the dollar, environmental concerns, and the rise of new players in the world economy.
"For many years now, U.S. companies have been outsourcing or establishing facilities abroad. In fact, some people were talking about the U.S. economy as one based almost completely on services.
"Of course we know that no large country can survive without a strong manufacturing base.
And now we also see in emerging countries the first signs of dramatic increases in labor costs, the growth of internal demand and
"These things would lead us to think that shipping the whole manufacturing sector abroad might not be a terrific idea after all %%MDASSML%% not for the companies themselves or for their consumers.
"The truth is, that in order to keep an economy healthy it is absolutely necessary for the most industrialized countries to: increase their competitiveness, pursue innovation, invest in its own labor force by raising skills and education, adopting new management techniques, and investing in technology and production processes.
"Of course we know the short-term perspectives for the U.S. economy do not allow the kind of optimism found only a few years ago.
"But we should not be overly pessimistic.
"The U.S. Department of Commerce revised figures for the second quarter reported a GDP growth of 2.7%.This growth was due to stronger exports and healthier business inventory figures.
At a projected annual rate this growth would be 3.3% for 2008.
"Another sign of optimism regards previous forecasts of oil prices reaching $200 a barrel. Now as of today oil is just over $100 a barrel.
"Even the Euro-Dollar exchange rate, which once reached a ratio of 1.60 dollar per euro, seems to be moving in a more balanced and realistic direction.
"The U.S. manufacturing sector shows good signs of reviving. In fact, the U.S. imports of machine tools grew 14% in the first six months of this year compared with the same period of last year.
"Italy is the third supplier to the U.S. with 6.8% of the U.S. machine tool imports. In the first 6 months of 2008 sales of Italian Machine tools increased 50% in value.
"According to the latest survey by the Manufacturing Institute, North American manufacturers still consider the U.S. as the most desirable country for expansion over the next 3 years.
"We strongly believe in U.S. manufacturers and feel that the U.S. will continue to play a major role as a global supplier of high quality products."
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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
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