US tariffs dominate discussions at International Manufacturing Show

World Today

US tariffs dominate discussions at International Manufacturing Show

Tariffs are one of the main issues at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago. The week-long show has attracted a record number of attendees. But many of them are worried that recent gains in U.S. industry will be undone by the many international tariffs Washington has put in place. CGTN’s Dan Williams has more.

This year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show is a display of strength for the manufacturing industry. More than 2,400 exhibitors  many demonstrating the latest in hi-tech machinery. But this year’s event takes place against a backdrop of various international tariffs and retaliatory tariffs that threaten to undermine some sectors of the industry.

“The closer we can get to the resolution, the better people can understand their investment path,” Tim Shinbara of The Association for Manufacturing Technology said. “There are certain companies who manufacture off the United States shores but that is because their customers are off the United States shores. So there are a few folks who will feel the tariffs. We hope that alongside them, the reconciliation is clear and quick as no one can plan in uncertainty.”

Large lines form at the Hurco stand as visitors wait for a solid model of their head, generated by a 3D scanner. The company has been around for 50 years officials are keeping a close eye on the tariff dispute.

“This uncertainty is definitely no one in the market will want,” said Paul Gray, Manager of Path Planning for Hurco. “And we would like to see that calm down a little bit and make sure we have smooth sailing and consistent growth.”

This event attracts exhibitors from across the globe, and although many of the companies here are enjoying a successful year when it comes to trade, concern over tariffs remain. Harry Moser is the founder of Reshoring Initiative, a non-profit that aims to increase manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

“We believe there are 10 or 20 policies that are more effective than tariffs,” he said. “The steel and aluminum tariffs especially are unproductive, because, while they help steel producers, they hurt steel users. So we recommend absolutely a better-skilled workforce, and a value-added tax like almost all the other countries makes a 15 percent difference. And bam! We’re competitive.”

Organizers of this event have enjoyed a record attendance. But if the tariffs remain in place, things could look a lot different when the next event is held in two years.