Brett Blume

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –  Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank was in the St. Louis County area Tuesday.

She toured various manufacturing sites including Wilco Die-Tool-Machine Co. in Maryland Heights, which was held up as a prime example of American firms able to win back work from overseas, specifically China, in a process sometimes known as insourcing or reshoring.

Wilco director of operations & business development Gary Guetterman said many U.S. companies are realizing a growing list of problems with trying to do business overseas.

“They’re seeing their wages go up (in China) so their prices go up,” he pointed out. “They’re also seeing those inherent costs rise, like just trying to communicate with them. You have to wait a day for a response, or you have to wake up at 2 am to talk to ’em.”

Wilco is looking to hire more workers after winning back manufacturing contracts that had previously been outsourced to China.

Sec. Blank praised Wilco for providing an example to other companies by bringing work back from overseas, while also taking several opportunities to tout President Obama’s economic policies — like stimulus spending.

“Over the last two-and-a-half years manufacturing growth has been one of the real bright spots in the economy,” Blank said. “Missouri alone has gained nearly nine-thousand manufacturing jobs.”

She said the Commerce Department wants to seize on success stories like Wilco and other St. Louis-area firms to keep the momentum going.

“Specifically, President Obama has proposed a tax credit for companies that bring operations and jobs back to the United States, to be paid for by eliminating tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas,” Blank explained. “This is just common sense.”

It’s a trend that Wilco’s Gary Guetterman wants to see continued, as well.

“We want to make sure that all the jobs possible get back into the U.S.,” he told KMOX News. “Manufacturing is key. You can’t build an economy off of service…you have to make something. There has to be something tangible behind your money.”


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