What to expect in trade policy in 2021


There’s a new administration in town, and NAM also has a new trade policy officer, who is already pushing the maker agenda. Ken Monahan became NAM’s Vice President of International Economic Affairs in January after nearly six years with the organization, and he is well equipped to represent the industry on these critical issues.

Monahan recently spoke to us about the organization’s priorities for the coming year. Here’s what you need to know.

The big picture: “NAM’s priority is to defend manufacturers and manufacturing workers in the United States by ensuring that our trading partners hold their end of the bargain, while also working to open markets to American exports and promote American supply chains,” Monahan says.

USMCA and commercial application: NAM won a victory when Congress passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, but although the agreement has already been implemented, NAM’s work is not yet complete. The focus now is on ensuring that Mexico and Canada meet their commitments to the USMCA, while also holding other U.S. partners accountable.

  • “Manufacturers continue to face trade barriers and other measures in countries with which the United States has trade agreements, including Mexico,” Monahan said. “We stand ready to work with the Biden administration and Congress to ensure that U.S. trade deal partners treat our industry fairly, which will support manufacturers and manufacturing jobs here in America through increased exports. .”

China: Given the rise of China, the United States’ ties to the country, and the size of the Chinese market, we need a solid strategy moving forward. The United States must exert consistent and targeted pressure on China — directly and with allies — to roll back its illegal subsidies, intellectual property thefts and discriminatory industrial policies, Monahan says.

  • “We need to work with allies to define a clear and robust strategy on China, leveraging our strengths to end problematic Chinese behavior and level the playing field for manufacturers,” Monahan said. “We need strong American leadership to ensure that the United States – not China – writes the rules of global trade for the benefit of American manufacturers and employees.”

Opening new markets: Beyond China, it’s vital that U.S. policymakers work to open up new markets and ensure that the rules-based global trading system enables manufacturers to meet challenges in markets around the world. , Monahan said.

  • “We must revitalize the rules-based international trading system and strike new trade agreements to break down unjust barriers, strengthen the role of free market forces, promote respect for the rule of law and propel manufacturing innovation into the world. world,” Monahan said. “This is all the more important as our competitors pursue their own agreements with countries with which the United States does not have trade agreements.”

The bottom line: “As we engage with the Biden administration and lawmakers from both parties to promote trade policy that opens markets for American exports and promotes American supply chains, we must shine a light on American manufacturing employees whose jobs depend on trade,” Monahan said. “We want to tell their stories. We want to share at every opportunity how commerce uplifts these employees and their communities. That’s our goal, and we’re excited to work alongside NAM members.


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