Redmond, Washington (September 20, 2018)—The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) co-hosted a town hall Thursday, September 20, in partnership with Genie, a Terex AWP brand, in front of 150 Genie team members on the business’s showroom floor and with thousands more watching online.

The discussion on trade came as tensions continued to rise between the United States and several longstanding trade partners, including China, which are involved in an escalating trade war, impacting the equipment manufacturing industry

“Accessing global markets and free trade are critical to the strength of our industry, including many of 1.3 million equipment workers we support,” said Dennis Slater, president of AEM. “It’s important that our industry is informed and stays engaged with this year’s midterm election—just weeks away.”

Matt Fearon, Genie president, Terex AWP agreed with Slater: “It’s important for all of us to stay involved because it’s critical to the overall health of the economy. The recent tariffs and trade tensions have created uncertainty and growing concerns about inflation that could slow the construction industries and hurt businesses. The more aware people are about the real impacts to business, the better decisions they can make about which policies to support.”

Thursday’s town hall speakers included John Garrison, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Terex Corporation; Fred Hochberg, former chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank; and Anja Manuel, author and principal at RiceHadleyGates LLC. Discussion topics ranged from the importance of equipment manufacturers gaining access to new markets, to the government’s role in promoting trade, and highlighted several trade challenges impacting the future of the equipment manufacturing industry.

“Trade is not a four-letter word, and it’s time we stop talking about it as if it is,” said Fred Hochberg, former chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank. “It’s good for America, American workers, exporters and consumers, and we have an opportunity this November to put us back on the right track.”

More than 6 out of 10 Washingtonians believe free trade would help strengthen the state economy more than relying on the use of tariffs, according to a new poll released during the town hall discussions. The poll also found that Washingtonians opposed the implementation of $250 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods by a 2-to-1 margin. The poll was conducted by Morning Consult from September 5-6, 2018, among a sample of 1,184 adults in Washington.

The Redmond event is the final stop of AEM’s "I Make America" town hall tour, which launched in May to educate and engage manufacturing voters about the policies that are critical to the future of the industry. At a time when too many policy debates that directly impact the future of the equipment manufacturing industry take place in Washington, AEM has brought policy and industry experts to shop floors across the country for engaging and productive discussions with the men and women who help make America.

Last week, AEM joined a coalition of more than 80 of the nation’s leading trade associations and businesses to form Americans for Free Trade, a new initiative aimed at “opposing tariffs and highlighting the benefits of international trade to the U.S. economy.”