US can learn a lesson from China: export, export, export

Feb 01, 2010 | 04:50 AM | Kevin Foster

After a year in office, the Obama administration seems to have managed to split the country on most issues. Approval ratings of 50 percent as of mid-January indicate widespread disagreement on many of the President's policies, from health care reform to climate change to financial regulation. Add issues like "card check" and "Buy American," and it's a good bet that there's a big difference of opinion in the metals industry, too.

But if there's one administration policy goal that's likely to win near-universal approval, it's the desire to rejuvenate the nation's manufacturing base.

That manufacturing is in decline is no secret. According to government figures, manufacturing accounted for 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007, down from 15.9 percent in 1993 and a post-World War II high of 28.3 percent in 1953.

The rise in globalization and free-trade agreements also means that U.S. manufacturing is battling it out in a global marketplace, and the numbers don't look too good compared with our largest trade rivals: manufacturing accounted for 23 percent of Germany's GDP and a massive 34 percent for China, according to figures cited by the National Association of Manufacturing.....

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