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Vermeer CEO: Manufacturers need to be heard in D.C.


During a manufacturing forum hosted by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) last week in Des Moines, Republican Congressman Tom Latham blasted his colleagues for burdening American businesses with regulations. Last year alone, Congress approved new regulations that created an estimated $22.5 billion in added costs for businesses, Latham said. In total, complying with federal regulations costs the private sector $1.75 trillion annually, he said.

Mary Vermeer Andringa, president and CEO of Vermeer Corp. and board chair of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), shared a specific example of “unintended consequences” of federal regulations from her company: meeting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new interim Tier 4 emission standards for farm equipment, which became effective Jan. 1.

“There’s just a lot of engineering time we have to put into these engines, and to be honest with you, the return just isn’t there,” Andringa told attendees at the forum. “We have spent 60 percent of our (research and development) time in the past two years just on these engine requirements. Just think about how much better our company, our country, would be if we were spending our time on much more innovative products. I think we have to take it upon ourselves to get some of these stories to Washington, so that we are heard.”

Andringa also outlined a comprehensive “blueprint” report that NAM recently published, titled “A Manufacturing Renaissance: Four Goals for Economic Growth.” The report will form the basis for a Republican presidential candidate forum to be held Nov. 1 at Vermeer’s headquarters in Pella. The forum, which begins at 10 a.m., will be broadcast live and streamed online by Iowa Public Television.

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