The US will face a global supply glut in the coming years, according to the country’s most influential manufacturing think-tank, the National Association of Manufacturers.
The NAM believes the US will be forced to import more fiber from overseas as it struggles to keep up with demand from Asia.
In a paper, NAM’s CEO Tom Hall argues the US needs to import at least 15% more fiber by 2020.
He also argues US manufacturing is not doing enough to keep pace with technological advances in fiber production.
“The world needs to be producing more fiber, and the US has a great opportunity to be a leader in that effort,” Hall said.
He added that the US must be willing to cut its fiber production in half to meet demand.
“If the US doesn’t have the capacity to meet the needs of the world, the rest of the country will have to step in,” he said.
Fiber imports have been a top issue for the NAM since its founding in the 1980s.
NAM president and CEO Tom Hart says the US can grow its fiber supply by 20%Source: Reuters The NAB has argued that the world’s growing fiber demand will have a significant impact on the US economy.
In a research paper published in April, the NAB said the US could have an additional 1.3 million jobs created by 2025 if the US is able to import 20% more of its fiber.
The research argues that the increased demand will lead to a “massive” increase in the value of US exports to Asia and Europe, and would generate billions of dollars in additional income for the US.
It also argues that an increase in US fiber production would lead to significant gains in the US manufacturing base, and that the global economic crisis could force the US to move towards a more balanced trade policy.
“We have not seen a country where the economic fundamentals are so strong, and yet it is still struggling to catch up with the changing demands of the global economy,” Hall told Reuters.
He added: “The United States is the world leader in manufacturing fiber.
If we can grow our fiber production by 20%, we can compete with the rest.”
The global market for fiber has been growing at an annual rate of about 7% over the past decade.
The paper by the NAAI suggests that the United States could be in the driver’s seat in this race, with the country currently the world number two producer of fiber.
But it is not without risk.
The paper warns that in the future the US may be forced into a “catastrophic” supply shortfall, and also notes that some countries may decide to import less fiber in an effort to keep their economies afloat.
Hall said that the future of the US industry will be tied to how the global financial system plays out.
“It’s a question of whether the US does have the ability to keep the global system from breaking down, or whether the global systems will break down, and so on,” he told Reuters at the time.
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