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"The Long View" by MEMA President and CEO Bill Long

Date: June 4, 2020

As many of you and your customers take watchful steps toward reopening your manufacturing facilities, we at MEMA have our eyes on actions that will enable a bright future. Because we know, as do you, that what we do today, and the policy that is made around today’s actions, will shape our tomorrow. Future success depends on what we do now.

And what we are doing now, collectively as an industry, is critical.

What are we doing now? We continue to help define how and when we jumpstart our manufacturing and supply chains in North America; make sure that Washington hears us and helps us through this difficult time; all while we adjust to a new landscape of the motor vehicle industry, which many say has changed permanently. We must be agile to adjust and strong enough to ensure that our interests are being heard. As the largest employer of manufacturing jobs in the United States, motor vehicle parts suppliers must have a say on how we will go forward. A few ways we are doing that include:

  1. Liquidity: MEMA is working closely with the Trump administration to provide motor vehicle suppliers with needed liquidity. We are assisting in the development of improved, workable processes to the current liquidity options and making recommendations for a phase-four stimulus package that will specifically assist suppliers;

  2. Tariff relief: Trade relations with China have been tense and will likely worsen. MEMA has been at the forefront of an effort to secure tariff relief. We have been speaking with all of our elected officials in anticipation of future trade actions, making sure our nation’s leaders know that suppliers (and American consumers) should not/cannot shoulder this burden;

  3. Working with Mexico: Many of you have facilities and partners in Mexico. Alignment and coordination with Mexico in bringing clarity to timing, the definition of essential businesses, and health and safety protocols is critical. We have formed a Mexico – Canada – U.S. trade association taskforce to make sure we are successful. Additionally, we have provided critical information via webinars to help members adjust to the new USMCA agreement;

  4. Reshoring: The impetus to re-shore factories will grow. MEMA is fighting for incentives to help members as they consider the prospects of re-shoring manufacturing production to the U.S., especially in the wake of the above tariff-escalation risk; and

  5. Legislation: MEMA is working to move the Highway Reauthorization Bill forward in a way that includes important elements that advance member’s business interests (data access, AV legislation, NCAP, charging station infrastructure).

It is important for you to know that we are not alone. MEMA, on behalf of all motor vehicle suppliers, has fostered a strong spirit of collaboration with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the Auto Care Association, NADA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers. Together our voices carry farther in advancing your business interests. Our established relationships in Washington are helping all of us.       

Never before has your trade association been so important, and we are well-positioned to lead. In the last decade, we have worked tirelessly to ensure your voice is heard in the White House, on Capitol Hill, and in the states. It was critical then, and it is even more so now. We have earned our seat “at the table,” and now we can pull up a chair and make sure your needs are heard at the highest levels as decisions impacting the future of our industry and your business are being made.

As an association, we have had to adjust as well. We have worked hard to ensure your business interests are being advanced while at the same time keeping our staff safe as we adjust to the new realities impacting us all. Our professionals are working from home, and we are asking the right questions. Though we cannot meet in person right now, we are finding new ways to get you the information you critically need. In most cases, our platforms for dialogue have moved online.

What will the future look like? Many experts have suggested that the coronavirus and its economic fallout will reshape global trade for years to come. Pressures to manufacture in North America will build. The supply chain that helped catapult motor vehicle parts suppliers into the global powerhouse of employment and innovation that we are may change. Adapting is not a choice.

From original lockdown to our reopening, MEMA and its divisions were there - every step of the way. We helped create and coordinate the restart of the industry. We worked tirelessly to provide clarity in a confusing business environment. MEMA, in its 116 years, has been here before. In that time, we have led the way through difficult and rapidly changing times, and we do so now.  I ask that you continue to speak up and let us know your pain-points and your needs.  

I thank you for your trust, confidence, and support.  We are fighting hard on your behalf.

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