Decaying National Infrastructure Is Challenging the Resurgence of American Manufacturing

Public-Private Manufacturing Innovation Institutes Announced

At a recent manufacturing summit hosted in Washington, D.C. by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Vice President Biden effectively made the case for linking manufacturing and infrastructure development as inextricably linked e-components of a growing economy. The nation’s lawmakers often cite manufacturing as a sure-fire way to place the U.S. on the road toward economic prominence once again. They also promote the need for a national effort to improve an aging infrastructure that once contributed to an economic boom in post-war America. However, too often manufacturing and infrastructure are not discussed in tandem. During its summit, the NAM demonstrated foresight and leadership in stressing the link between the two.

A 2012 Global Competiveness Report by the World Economic Forum ranked the U.S. as 14th in infrastructure behind countries like France, Korea, Spain and Canada. Such a ranking may not be good enough to entice manufacturers that are looking for every advantage in an increasingly competitive world market. Continue reading this entry

Protection Against Foreign Anticompetitive Practices Affecting U.S. Activities

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Antitrust laws, like the Sherman Act, protect American markets from anticompetitive practices. But, under the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA), American antitrust laws only reach foreign conduct in specific circumstances. For example, an anticompetitive act committed abroad must, among other things, “directly” affect U.S. domestic, import, or certain export activities and the effect must give rise to a Sherman Act claim before U.S. courts may address it. An in-depth look at the cases discussed below can be found in Foley’s Antitrust newsletter but a quick overview is provided in this blog.

Two federal appellate courts recently addressed what it means to “directly” affect U.S. activities and give rise to a Sherman Act claim in the framework of a global supply chain. In one case before the Seventh Circuit, a manufacturer alleged that a foreign cartel fixed the price of a certain component part. Such a practice typically gives rise to a federal antitrust claim. But in this case, the alleged price fixers were not selling the products in the U.S. or to a U.S. company. Instead, the alleged price fixers sold the components abroad to foreign subsidiaries of a U.S. company. The subsidiaries incorporated the component into the end product while manufacturing abroad. Then, the subsidiaries imported many of the end products for sale in the states. The court decided that the injuries suffered by the manufacturer were too indirect to support a claim under the Sherman Act. This ruling suggests that an injury at one level in the foreign supply chain does not create a “direct” effect in U.S. activity. Continue reading this entry

Puerto Rico: A Haven for Manufacturers?

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Perhaps not surprisingly to those familiar with the tropical island, manufacturing remains a key driver of economic activity in Puerto Rico. Indeed, manufacturing accounts for 45% of Puerto Rico’s GDP (compared to 11% in the U.S.) and over 20% of the island’s jobs. Many U.S. multinational companies, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, have chosen Puerto Rico as their home for manufacturing operations.

Why? There are five main reasons. Continue reading this entry

How to Become a Director of the Year

Director of the Year Award

Manufacturing companies and their boards of directors have responded to new challenges to increase productivity, reduce costs, better manage data, and develop new and better products. To recognize the contributions of outstanding directors to their boards, companies, and shareholders, last year Foley established Director of the Year Awards for outstanding directors at public and private companies.

The boardroom is no stranger to watching technological advancements revolutionize the business model. And great directors provide value to a company, and its management team, through informed governance and decision making. Even in the face of sweeping changes, boards of directors are charged with ensuring the company maintains its integrity while delivering value to its shareholders.

Nominations are currently being accepted for this year’s award and are due August 1. Winners of the Director of the Year award for a public and private company will be recognized on November 5th at Foley’s National Directors Institute Executive Exchange reception in Chicago. Last year’s award winners represented outstanding manufacturing companies, Oshkosh Corporation and Pelican Products. Continue reading this entry

Facilities Siting: The Right Considerations Lead to the Right Choice

According to the research, manufacturers are on the move. The questions and considerations listed below are a great starting point for any company opening or relocating a manufacturing facility.

Is the right support infrastructure in place?

  • Transportation – Will railroads, airports, seaports, or interstate highways be needed for the plant?
  • Utilities – Some of our clients have incurred substantial costs to upgrade the community’s existing infrastructure to handle their new plants’ demands. Examples include augmenting local sanitation, wastewater, or storm water discharge capabilities. Continue reading this entry