Can Trump, Republicans Usher in New “Golden Era” of Manufacturing in U.S.?

The Plastics Industry Association believes the potential good (business friendly tax policy + relaxed regulation) of the pending Trump administration will outweigh any potential bad (new checks on trade).

The Plastics Industry Association believes the potential good (business friendly tax policy + relaxed regulation) of the pending Trump administration will outweigh any potential bad (new checks on trade).

 

Reviewing two new reports, Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Plastics Industry Association, sounded an optimistic tone on the immediate future of the plastics sector, believing a combination of a Republican Congress and Trump administration could usher in a “new golden era” for American manufacturing.

 

“When I got to Washington D.C. 10 years ago,” Carteaux said, “it was difficult to get people on the Hill or in the administration to talk about manufacturing.” In recent weeks, including after meetings with President-Elect Trump’s transition team, Carteaux believes the overall regulatory environment and level of government assistance to industry could return to the “1980s, in terms of how things are governed from a business perspective.”

 

Carteaux did say that the association has discussed the importance of trade to Trump’s team, noting plastics sizable surplus, which we discussed here. In particular, the association has brought up the importance of NAFTA and the fact that Mexico and Canada are our two largest trading partners for plastics.  

 

“[The transition team] certainly is hearing from all sectors of manufacturing as to how important trade is,” Carteaux said, adding that the feedback he’s gotten from transition team members has been that Trump will seek to tweak deals like NAFTA, as opposed to completely throwing them aside.

 

Carteaux reported that the 2015 trade surplus stood at $7.1 billion, with total exports just shy of $60 billion. While 2015 exports of resin (down 8% to $32.4 billion) and machinery (down 9.7% to $1.4 billion) fell, mold exports were quite strong, rising 10% to $582.2 million.

 

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Carteaux’s final take: things are looking up for plastics in terms of regulatory burden, while it will be “wait-and-see” when it comes to trade.