Inside This Issue - News
Made in America
September 2nd, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. – Walmart hosted its first two-day U.S. Manufacturing Summit here, bringing together nearly 1,500 retailers, suppliers and government officials in a bid to facilitate the creation of new factory jobs in the United States.
Walmart announced in January that it intended to spend an additional $50 billion on U.S.-made goods over the next 10 years. Walmart U.S. president and chief executive officer Bill Simon said if other retailers joined the effort it would result in an extra $500 billion in American-made products over the next decade. That in turn would mean more middle-class jobs for American workers.
"Jump-starting the manufacturing industry and rebuilding the middle class requires a national effort by companies, industry leaders, lawmakers and others," Simon said. "Together, we can help spark a revitalization of U.S.-based manufacturing, using new technology and new innovations to make production in the United States affordable and feasible."
Walmart hosted the summit in partnership with the National Retail Federation. NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay hosted a panel discussion with U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, General Electric Co. chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt and other executives, and another featuring governors Butch Otter (Idaho), Paul LePage (Maine) and Earl Ray Tomblin (West Virginia), along with the CEOs of Chobani and Hampton Products International.
"This summit is testament to the importance the retail industry plays in America," Shay said. "By leveraging our resources and applying our expertise, we can help rebuild American manufacturing, create new jobs and opportunities, and spur economic growth across the country.
"Domestic sourcing creates good-paying careers for American workers who will spend more in our stores, benefiting retailers large and small. By bringing together retailers, suppliers, manufacturers and key government officials, we can jointly identify areas of opportunity that will help to drive a renewal of American manufacturing. It’s already happening, and we’re proud to be a part of it."
At the summit, GE announced plans to invest $30 million and add more than 150 jobs, expanding capacity of GE Lighting’s domestic manufacturing operations to meet growing consumer demand for GE Energy-Efficient Soft White lightbulbs. The announcement coincides with a new agreement that will put those bulbs on the shelves of 3,400 Walmart Stores by summer 2014.
"As a company whose history dates back more than 130 years, we understand that to grow we have to invest — in R&D and in workers," Immelt said. "This announcement is evidence of our continued commitment to creating advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S., and is yet another sign of an American manufacturing renewal."
Walmart has appointed a senior team to oversee its commitment to buy more American-made goods, Simon said, "and we’ve decided we will sign longer-term purchase agreements when it makes sense to give manufacturers more certainty."
Government officials said the time is right for an effort of this type. Rising wages in China and higher transportation costs are helping narrow the cost advantages associated with making things overseas. Producing goods closer to where they will be bought and consumed is also useful in terms of getting products to market faster.
"Right now, companies in America are making and selling products around the world at an all-time record pace, and the incentive to make things here and hire American workers is only getting stronger," Pritzker remarked. "A summit like this one, which brings multiple organizations from the public and private sectors together, is exactly the type of cooperation that’s needed to grow businesses, create jobs and keep America competitive."