America is on the road to recovery with a 3.5 per cent growth which may be less than desirable but is surely a positive.
Dennis Slater, President, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), is a happy man as he observes the latest figures of Conexpo 2011 which projects it to be the second biggest show ever. “Next only to the 2008 show when economies were booming round the world and the visitor count recorded a peak of 144,000,” he stated in an exclusive chat with Pratap Vijay Padode, Editor-in-Chief, Equipment India, at the AEM office at the Las Vegas Convention Centre. “Historically, the number of visitors have vacillated between 105,000 to 144,000, but what is redeeming this year is the turnout of the international visitors which have actually given a heads-up to the show. At least 25 per cent of the total visitors are from international destinations. What is also gratifying is that the mood is upbeat and is indicative of the fact that times are likely to get better for the industry,” Slater added. Speaking about the pending Bills with the US Congress, he bemoaned the government's apathy but was hopeful about action and passing of Highway Bill soon.
Suresh Kumar, Assistant Secretary & Director General, US & Foreign Commercial Service, US Department of Commerce, said, “America is on the road to recovery with a 3.5 per cent growth which may be less than desirable but is surely a positive. We've had 30 straight months of employment increase and unemployment has kept below 9 per cent; meaning, growth is on its way and recovery is imminent. Besides, 95 per cent of our customers are outside the US, of which, nearly one-third are in China and India; the US enterprises have realised that they need to enhance their engagement with their customers. All countries look towards the US for technology and innovation and we have great infrastructure to enable this mission. In fact, President Obama has announced the National Export Initiative (NEI), a critical new effort that will lead to long-term, sustainable economic growth for the US. The President has a goal of doubling exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million American jobs.”
AEM, together with its colleagues at Associated Equipment Distributors, has launched an all-out effort in support of a comprehensive Highway Bill re-authorisation. “Our country simply cannot afford to wait 18 months for long-term investment that will provide comprehensive solutions to our transportation challenges and create jobs. AEM has been a constant voice for adequate funding for roads, bridges and other surface transportation upgrades. Greater investment is needed for the US to maintain its worldwide economic leadership. Emerging powers are using our interstate highway system as a model for advancement, as we neglect our own infrastructure improvements and risk losing our global competitive advantage,” stated Slater.
Slater also talked about the ‘I Make America' campaign, which has been initiated to promote US manufacturing jobs through infrastructure investment and passage of export agreements. It is based on the belief that infrastructure investment and export agreements are proven ways to create and sustain jobs for US workers.
Recently, AEM has received the US Department of Commerce's ‘Certificate of Appreciation for Achievement in Trade' in recognition of its work with the department to promote US export development and create opportunities for US businesses through trade. AEM President Dennis Slater accepted the award on behalf of the association from Suresh Kumar, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Promotion and Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service, during the ceremonies at the recent Conexpo-CON/AGG exposition in Las Vegas.
AEM has been a strong partner of the US Department of Commerce for more than 30 years, and it is an active participant in the Department's US Commercial Service's International Buyer Program for AEM-run shows such as Conexpo-CON/AGG and AG Connect Expo. “AEM is an outstanding example of how our collaborative partnering efforts are enhancing export opportunities for US construction and agricultural equipment suppliers,” Suresh Kumar said. “President Obama's National Export Initiative aims to double US exports by 2015 while supporting millions of US jobs, and trade shows such as Conexpo-CON/AGG 2011 are a key to helping us achieve this goal.”
At Conexpo-CON/AGG 2011 and the IFPE 2011, international registrations accounted for a record 24 per cent of the total of nearly 120,000 registered attendees, representing more than 150 countries. The shows hosted 42 official international customer delegations from 37 countries, organised by the US Department of Commerce as well as in-country associations and related groups.