This week, Walmart executives met with government officials, other businesses, and non-profit organizations in Washington D.C. to discuss their ten-point plan to stimulate the U.S. manufacturing sector in hopes of creating 1.5 million jobs.
Walmart said that they believed that their policy recommendations could help U.S. businesses to “recapture” up to $300 billion in goods from the import market while boosting job growth. Currently the U.S. imports about $650 billion worth of goods.
Bringing in the jobs
In 2013, Walmart made a commitment to try to source at least $250 billion in goods from U.S. manufacturers. In the four years since making that promise, Walmart has “learned a great deal about the challenges [their] suppliers face in domestic manufacturing,” according to Cindi Marsiglio.
These experiences, combined with data and analysis from the Boston Consulting Group, helped the company to identify the roadblocks to meeting their goal of sourcing more U.S.-made goods.
Some of the challenges discussed at the meeting included a shortage of skilled workers, government overregulation, out-of-date trade agreements, and a lack of cooperation amongst different suppliers.
Walmart executives urged government officials to adopt pro-manufacturing policies.
Recommendations included creating vocational programs, reducing regulations and creating more flexible requirements for small businesses, giving tax deductions to investors, reducing costs for training new workers, and rebranding manufacturing in hopes of attracting more workers and customers interested in buying U.S.-made goods. Walmart would also like legislators to rework trade agreements and taxes and to set up cooperative partnerships with private manufacturers.
Said Marsiglio, “Walmart is uniquely positioned to help facilitate broad engagement in accelerating the expansion of U.S. manufacturing.”
On the up
U.S. manufacturing is on the rise, with the Institute of Supply Management noting a three-year high in their index.
Government officials seemed open to Walmart’s recommendations. U.S. Representative Tom Reed (R-NY) co-chair of the House Manufacturing Caucus said that “Manufacturing is an advancing field where new technologies will open doors to job creation and economic growth.”
“We must work together to remove barriers so that we are more competitive and good paying jobs are once again created right here in the United States.”