A new Capitol Hill caucus has focused its attention on an industry that thousands of Mississippians have a vested interest in: furniture manufacturing.
According to Mississippi First District Congressman Roger Wicker, the purpose of the bipartisan Congressional Furnishings Caucus “is to promote and protect the interests of the domestic furniture manufacturing industry, which is so vital to Mississippi.”
Concentrated primarily in Northeast Mississippi, but critical to the state’s overall economy, furniture manufacturing is one of the great business success stories of the past few decades. However, increased — and many would say unfair — overseas competition is a growing concern. While the opportunities of the global marketplace are significant, the challenges and risks can be just as daunting.
The Congressional Furnishings Caucus will take a look at a number of different issues that might help furniture manufacturers, including:
• Accelerated depreciation for manufacturing investment.
• Easing the regulatory burden.
• Stopping illegal dumping of imported products.
• Holding other nations accountable for currency manipulation that can make it all but impossible to export U.S.-manufactured goods.
In addition to the furniture industry, Wicker also believes “that it is in our vital national interest to preserve current and future manufacturing capabilities.” And the congressman is right. Manufacturing is a national security issue.
In the coming years, it is critical that business and government work together to insure that the benefits of globalization are accessible to as many industries — and communities — as possible.
And for Mississippi, the Congressional Furnishings Caucus could prove to be an important part of that process.