Over the next three years, 44 percent of North American manufacturing companies plan to expand production in the United States, according to a survey by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME), and Deloitte. Along with the expansion plans, 57 percent of U.S. manufacturers say they will become more globally competitive over the next five years across the supply chain - from sales, marketing, and customer service to engineering and information technology. However, the survey also pointed out issues that manufacturers believe warrant government involvement. "Manufacturers cited controlling labor costs, enacting favorable tax policies, and assisting with the severe shortage of skilled manufacturing workers, including engineers, scientists, and technicians, as the top three areas that policymakers should address to help improve their global competitiveness," says Emily DeRocco, NAM's senior vice president and president of the Manufacturing Institute. Nearly 80 percent of respondents identified tax cuts for manufacturers as the key factor for innovation and R&D. Looking at manufacturers' view of free-trade agreements, the survey found that 49 percent felt the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had helped their businesses become more competitive, with 41 percent saying it did not affect their businesses one way or the other and 10 percent saying NAFTA had hurt their businesses.
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