Dennis Slater, the president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), issued the following statement after Tuesday’s Republican presidential town hall on CNN in Milwaukee.
During the town hall, Jim Walker, Vice President of Case IH North America, asked Ohio Gov. John Kasich about pro-manufacturing trade policy.
I join our hundreds of AEM member companies in applauding Jim Walker for using Tuesday’s town hall as an opportunity to help focus Wisconsin voters and a nationwide audience on the manufacturing issues that will matter on Tuesday in the Wisconsin primary. Trade is one of the many manufacturing issues at stake this Tuesday, along with taxes and regulation, infrastructure and a strong agricultural sector.
Our goal this election season has been to consistently communicate equipment manufacturers’ perspectives toward these issues to candidates, communities and tens of thousands of grassroots manufacturing voters across the country. I’m hopeful that Jim’s exchange lent them some clarity in determining their vote this election season.
Jim Walker, an AEM Director who serves as chair of AEM’s Ag Sector Board, added:
I’d like to thank both CNN and AEM for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in Tuesday’s town hall. I wanted to ask Gov. Kasich about trade because, as someone who works for an equipment manufacturer, I see how this issue and many of the other issues we’ve heard about on the campaign trail actual play out in the real world.
I would like to thank Gov. Kasich for taking the time to offer his thoughts, and I hope that Wisconsin’s manufacturing voters found it helpful in determining their vote on Tuesday.
Walker’s question to Kasich was:
I represent a manufacturer, farm equipment manufacturer, here in Wisconsin that directly employs many thousands of people. Indirectly, as you can imagine, with farm equipment that we sell, we indirectly support many more thousand farmers who buy our equipment. On top of that we export about a third of our product that we manufacture here in essence. So in essence, we're a global manufacturing company.
To spark a trade war right now would not only be detrimental to business, but all of those people directly and indirectly that I said we support.
My question to you is, as president, how would you engage in diplomacy that won't hurt global manufacturing businesses?