Trade Associations Fighting For Small-To Mid-Sized Companies

Aug. 7, 2007
Trade associations argue for shops in Washington
TMTA Sees Robust Growth
The Tooling, Manufacturing & Technologies Association ( has seen its role more than double – it represented companies with 22,000 employees and now represents companies with more than 47,000 employees – in the last seven months.

The association was founded in 1933 asthe Michigan Tooling Association, but changed its name and direction early this year to attract a national member base and to gain more political clout, and it looks as if it's strategy is working.

The association says its success is due to the fact that small and mid-sized domestic manufacturers see the need for, and realize the value of an association that represents on a federal level.

The association also has aligned itself with other interest groups across the country including manufacturing, agriculture, consumers and, even labor, to organize grassroots Town Hall meetings set in presidential primary venues in which they hold presidential candidates' feet to the fire on trade reform issues when they arrive in these cities to stump for the presidential nomination.

It also has been host to U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter and U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, chair of the House Ways and Means/Trade subcommittee, in meetings with its members about trade issues.

"Our new members said they've joined us because they feel that we are a national association that is taking the concerns of small and mid-sized domestic manufacturers to Washington because, for most intents and purposes, the problems of domestic manufacturing are only going to be solved at the federal level," Brian Sullivan, director of sales, marketing and communication for the association said.

Sullivan added that the association is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers, but has decided to not renew its membership.

NTMA Urges Congress To Level The Playing Field
In late June Ken Seilkop, president of A-G Tool and Die, Inc. of Miamitown, Ohio, told the House Small Business Committee that Congress should pass legislation to level the playing field for the precision machining and tooling industry to stay competitive with China and other countries.

Seilkop testified on behalf of the National Tooling and Machining Association ( during the congressional committee's hearing on the impact of U.S. trade policies on small business, and was promoting a bill introduced by Reps. Tim Ryan and Duncan Hunter knownas The Fair Currency Act (H.R. 782/S. 796). That act would define currency manipulation as a subsidy under U.S. trade law and make it easier for the U.S. government to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods under the countervailing duty law against foreign government subsidies.

"American tool and die makers . . . cannot compete when the playing field is rigged, and that is what China has been doing— —rigging its currency at a level that economists agree is substantially below its fair value," Seilkop said.

According to Seilkop, American tooling and machining shops also must compete against Chinese companies that have cheap labor costs, do not pay, or pay very little for health insurance and legacy costs, and do not have to meet the U.S. government's strict environmental and safety standards.

Mr. Seilkop's testimony came on the heels of the trade association's annual Legislative Conference.

The National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) represents more than 1,700 custom precision manufacturers and 55,000 employees across the nation that produce special tools, dies, jigs, fixtures, gages, molds, special machines, and precision machined parts.