Balance can be struck in overseas business
I have been in the trade for 30 years. I started Moulds International 15 years ago, building overseas tooling, mostly in Portugal. Five years ago we opened a tool shop called Dynamic Mold & Design Inc., which greatly improved our market. Moulds International & Design Group Inc. now has associates in Canada, Portugal, China and Malaysia, as well as in- house tooling.
Mold shop owners should stop complaining and find new ways to serve their clients, as we have. All of our clients' tooling needs vary. One might need a fast tool, so we build it in North America, another might need a short production run, then that tool would be best-suited for our overseas shop.
All our clients have built tools in multiple countries; this gives them a competitive option. It has improved our business and kept Moulds International competitive in this ever-changing market. We are able to repair, change and maintain any tools built overseas. This is a very valuable asset. I know tool shops like new work, but in reality, there is more money in repair work.
I read Plastic News and I see articles about shop owners asking the government for help when, in fact, the government has hurt our trade by putting an embargo on steel and we lost more jobs. Now steel prices have gone up and we cannot pass the prices on to our clients. We have asked for tax breaks, only to be taxed higher. We, as shop owners, should look at the real problems: taxes, insurance, unions, lack of good qualified employees and overpriced machines and software.
I know for a fact overseas companies are not our enemy.
Balancing offshore tooling and U.S. tooling works very well. You just have to recognize your client's needs. I do not have all the answers. I am still learning, but I have a good handle on the future.
Howard J. Hlina
Moulds International & Design Group Inc.
put security at risk
I just read the news clip with respect to this year's registration for NPE [``NPE registration way down from 2000,'' Page 3, June 30]. I do not believe anyone should be surprised. For the last three years and more, I have witnessed the grand exodus of our manufacturing base to China. Some people think this is healthy competition. On the contrary, we are becoming dependent on a Communist country - one that hates our way of life - for our existence.
When our military computers and other electronic systems depend on Chinese-built products, not just components, the situation becomes extremely high-risk. How far are we going to go? Until China has so much of our manufacturing that they can shut this once-great nation down?
Many of those molders who are left in this country are wondering when their ``loyal'' customers are going to hightail it to China. Mexico? That is another subject. NAFTA was supposed to create somewhat of a common market. Good for all three countries. Yes some jobs went to Mexico, but look at the population of Mexico vs. China. We have given more jobs and technology to China than Mexico could ever dream of absorbing. I understand that the United States cannot possibly produce everything we consume, but we cannot continue to sell the nation and our security to the lowest bidder.
Is global competition good for this country? Yes, if the playing field is almost level. Will the new tax reduction help the economy? There may be an upward blip, but when the consumer spends this ``new-found money'' on imports, the net effect is negative. Will the new investment incentives to manufacturers help? Probably not, since most of the equipment will be imported.