Viewing blog posts written by Lance Hastings


California manufacturers will grow with new free trade agreement

Posted by Lance Hastings, President on July 14, 2019

If California were its own country, it would rank as the fifth largest economy in the world. Here, production doesn’t just refer to movies, and tech isn’t just an industry. From cars to computers, smartphones to spaceships, California manufacturers are innovating and making products that will pull our country into the future—doing so with technology that already exists. Our state’s manufacturing industry is poised to grow and thrive as long as lawmakers provide pro-growth policies to enable it—which is exactly why manufacturers here in California and across the nation are calling on Congress to support the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA) when it comes to a vote.

Last year, leaders from the United States, Canada, and Mexico came together to update the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA, while forward-thinking for its time, has become increasingly outdated as our technology and modern economy continue to outpace our economic policy. Our countries’ leaders recognized this and signed the USMCA in November 2018. The next step is for Congress to ratify it expeditiously once the administration formally submits it for approval—which we expect to happen soon.

This new deal not only protects free trade throughout North America, it provides a number of long-awaited improvements that will help to shepherd our economy and our manufacturing industry forward for decades to come.

First, the new agreement includes best-in-class rules that would strengthen United States intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement. Being in such a technology-driven and innovative state, IP rights are critical to a number of sectors and businesses. With even better IP standards that reflect the modern economy, California manufacturers will be emboldened to create new, environmentally friendly, and economical ways to put food on tables across the United States or even to find the next discovery in outer space.

The USMCA would also improve digital rules to ensure companies in the United States using online storefronts have safe and unfettered access to consumers across Mexico and Canada that would help their businesses grow. And let’s not forget about the ways it levels the playing field for many American businesses by improving the way anti-competitive behaviors by state-owned enterprises are addressed and by expanding access into both Canada and Mexico by removing unfair trade barriers. This agreement is undoubtedly beneficial to each North American nation.

To date, Mexico is the only country that has ratified the USMCA. And with data from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) showing the positive economic impact the USMCA would have, it is surprising that some in Congress have not shown the same sense of urgency.

California has more than 25,000 manufacturing firms, 93 percent of which are small- and medium-sized, that depend on free trade throughout North America. And these jobs can be found across our state and throughout many different industries, creating well-paying, career-track jobs. In fact, the jobs in our state that are supported by North American trade pay an average of $100,060 in wages and benefits in comparison to an average $54,329 in nonfarm industries.

According to the same NAM study, California’s economy would suffer without the passage of a strong North American trade agreement, with the state’s manufactured goods exported to Canada and Mexico potentially facing between $1.2 billion and $10.1 billion in extra taxes. That’s in comparison to zero tariffs today and it’s completely unacceptable.

Each day that the USMCA is not approved is another day that goes by without certainty for manufacturers. It’s another day that manufacturers could be creating more well-paying, stable jobs for the middle class. As is so often the case, manufacturers are looking to California to lead, to show what is possible and to pull our country into the future by signing the USMCA. We are up to the task, and let’s get to work!





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Six rankings indicating California's investment climate

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Jan. 25, 2019

Site Selection Magazine recently released its “State of the States” report, a guided tour of economic development laws, leaders, policies, indicators and projects from last year. The compendium includes six rankings for each state in the following (with California’s rank in parentheses):

  • (49th) Business Tax Climate
  • (1st)  Higher Education
  • (19th) National Career Readiness Certificates
  • (49th) Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate
  • (47th) Industrial Electricity Power Costs
  • (42nd) Fiscal Condition Index

These are some of the critical datapoints and indicators that drive specific site selection for companies looking to scale up long-term manufacturing across the country. The low rankings certainly play a role in California’s lag in the national manufacturing resurgence. There is no doubt we are highly successful at researching and developing and innovating products, with our tremendous University institutions, but we must make what innovate. It's time to improve California's business climate for long term manufacturing investment and to make way for the economic opportunites that come with those investments.

Link to California's report

Link to State of the States clearinghouse of 50 states





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Site Selection magazine wants survey responses on business friendliness

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Aug. 6, 2018

Site Selection Magazine is working on their annual piece ranking every state's business friendliness.  It's important for California manufacturers to help provide a picture of their challenges and benefits to operating in the state.  Your answers will remain anonymous but will go a long way in painting an accurate picture of what it's like to manufacture a product in California.  Please respond to Gary Daughters at Site Selection Magazine at gary.daughters@conway.com or 770-662-8950 if you can respond to some or all of the following questions:

  1. What part of the state are you in?
  2. What are two top attributes to your company’s location?
  3. What would you change about the business climate where you are?
  4. Has leaving California ever been an option for your company?
  5. How many people do you employ?
  6. What were your reasons for choosing to locate where you are?
  7. Would you be willing to participate in a telephone interview on the business climate where you are?




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Message to California manufacturers - prepare yourselves for a wild ride in 2018!

Posted by Dorothy Rothrock, on Jan. 8, 2018

If there ever was a time to be involved with politics, this is the year. The national economy is growing at a rapid clip. Manufacturers in every sector are making bold new investments and hiring more workers.  Communities across the country are attracting manufacturers to their states to improve wages and quality of life for their citizens. 

We want California to be a leader in this national manufacturing revival.

How will that happen?  We need to tell candidates for Governor, legislators and local officials what you need to grow and prosper.    

This year is crucial.  The election in November will not only determine the next Governor, it could also bring new taxes and mandates through the ballot box. This year the legislature will debate dozens of proposals related to taxes, energy, climate change, labor protections, and workforce development.

CMTA will be smack in the middle of it all.  We didn’t get to be 100 years old by sitting around!

In fact, our Centennial celebration will be dedicated to showing that manufacturing is the engine that powered California in the past and will keep us on the cutting-edge of technological advancement in the future.  

CMTA lobbyists and communications team are on the job for you.  They will tell you what’s happening, listen to your concerns and make forceful arguments to our elected officials.  We’ll hold them accountable and let you know when they do the right thing…or not! 

Thanks for being part of the CMTA family. It is a pleasure and honor to represent California manufacturers in Sacramento. 

Best wishes for a prosperous New Year!   





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Spread the word to support California manufacturing

Posted by Dorothy Rothrock, on Jan. 7, 2014

It’s hard to believe – thousands of medium and small manufacturers are not members of the CMTA. Maybe they don’t know that we are the only statewide trade association solely dedicated to the well-being of California manufacturers. They are busy managing their businesses and probably feel that they “don’t have time” or enough money to participate in the association. The reality is that CMTA has membership dues schedules and options for participation that will work for every company.

We are only as effective as the depth and breadth of our membership. Get the word out to your fellow manufacturers that joining CMTA is crucial. We need everyone to get on board.

It’s easy to explain why all manufacturers should join CMTA. We are in Sacramento all year fighting for manufacturers. We tell California lawmakers and regulators what they need to know to make good decisions that support manufacturing:

That manufacturing is vitally important to the California economy. Maintaining a high quality of life depends on a vibrant and growing manufacturing sector. California manufacturers – the most productive and energy efficient companies in the world – already support 1.2 million employees and provide billions in state and local tax revenues. California should compete for new manufacturing investments and expansions that are up for grabs each year. New innovative products designed and manufactured here would create thousands of new high-wage technical and professional level jobs for the growing California population.

How they can help manufacturers grow and prosper in California. Manufacturers can prosper here with sensible government policies that support consumer and worker protection, a skilled workforce, a clean environment and adequate government revenues for infrastructure and important public services. New manufacturing investment and job creation will be promoted by a predictable tax and regulatory environment that cost-effectively accomplishes these goals. California manufacturers can compete in global markets if we minimize unnecessary costs of litigation, overly-intrusive regulations, and uncompetitive levels of taxation.

How their bills and regulations will hurt or help California manufacturers. Thousands of bills and regulations are introduced or amended each year in California. We monitor and actively lobby the hundreds of proposals that impact California manufacturing in the areas of taxation, labor, environmental protection, energy, workers compensation, litigation, workforce development, and more. CMTA lobbyists work directly with manufacturers to find and communicate to policymakers the proposals that will solve important problems with the best possible outcome for manufacturers.

The bottom line is that every manufacturer should be a member and stand up for sensible state policies. Spread the word to your network of suppliers, vendors and industry colleagues. Direct them to www.cmta.net





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