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Speaking for small and medium-sized businesses at the meeting, McGregor laid out an agenda to address the needs of manufacturing companies struggling to stay profitable in today's competitive global economy. Among the key points he emphasized are the importance of lower healthcare costs, improved access to credit for small businesses and a thorough, fact-based government analysis of the competitive disadvantages that U.S. manufacturing companies face against overseas competitors.
"Small manufacturers are the job creators and the backbone of our communities," says McGregor. "I am very proud to be here and congratulate the Obama Administration on releasing its manufacturing agenda. The proposals we are discussing today must ensure that small manufacturers become more cost-competitive with our overseas competition. We can compete with anyone in the world if we are on a level playing field."
Following are excerpts from McGregor's remarks at the White House meeting:
"The Government needs a better understanding of the manufacturing sector, particularly of small and medium-sized manufacturers. I currently serve on the Manufacturing Council, a forum set up by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke for small and medium-sized businesses to talk with the government about ways we can jointly improve the sector. One of the Manufacturing Council's proposals I strongly support is the recommendation to conduct an international cost and competitiveness analysis of the manufacturing sector, on an ongoing basis, that fleshes out all the areas where we are at a competitive disadvantage with companies overseas. This will allow us to take fact-based, strategic steps to improve the competitiveness of our domestic business climate. Without an overarching strategic rethink about how we can help manufacturing, our sector will continue to shrink each year.
"As this economy turns around, we are not going to be able to rehire workers or invest in new technologies without a solution to the credit problem facing small businesses. Small and medium-sized businesses like mine are having a very difficult time accessing the credit we need. The Administration's recently announced initiative to channel unspent TARP funds through community banks to lend to small businesses with fewer restrictions is, in my opinion, a potentially productive way to get businesses like mine the credit we need to make capital investments and help grow our businesses."