The Future of American Exports

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You might not guess it from the "Made in China" tags that seem to be on everything these days. But even now, in the era of off-shoring jobs and hyper-competition from overseas, the good old USA does still know how to manufacture at home and sell abroad.

Last year saw the biggest jump in US exports since 1988. But the future of jobs, wages and trade is still a wide open question.

Today, we'll go to Caterpillar and John Deere and high-tech Palo Alto, to see how successful exporters do it. And we'll ask economists if we can keep it up.

This hour On Point: still made in the USA.

Quotes from the Show:

"United States is the number one manufacturing country in the world." Andrew Bernard

"What's really driving the exports up is that the domestic economy has been good, and when things are good at home, companies look to the foreign markets to expand." Andrew Bernard

"Tradable services will follow the path of manufacturing, there's no doubt about it." Andrew Bernard

"Caterpillar has a logistics business now." Jonathan Ahl

"Caterpillar has increased its domestic workforce, both white collar and blue collar." Jonathan Ahl

"I think the real secret to the success of Deere has been their reawakened focus on the costumer." Timothy Hurley

"If you look at the manufacturing wages adjusted for inflation, they have gone nowhere since about 1978. ...You have to look at trends overtime, not just at snapshots." Alan Tonelson

"US-based manufacturers are losing to foreign competition." Alan Tonelson


Andrew Bernard, Professor of International Economics and Senior Associate Director of the Center for International Business at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Jonathan Ahl, News Director, WCBU Radio. He has been covering equipment maker Caterpillar for the station for 11 years.;
Timothy Hurley, Mayor of Waterloo, Iowa since 2004, where John Deere employees more than 5,000 people. He spent 37 years at John Deere.;
Timothy E. Guertin, President and CEO of Varian Medical Systems, a $1.6 billion company that manufactures cancer detection and treatment systems.;
Alan Tonelson, Research Fellow at the U.S. Business & Industry Council and author of "Race to the Bottom: Why a Worldwide Worker Surplus and Uncontrolled Free Trade are Sinking American Living Standards."

This program aired on March 29, 2007.


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