Northwest Aerospace News April | May Issue No.14 - Page 8

“Made In America” GRANTS Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) By Robin Bishop M ost of us have heard stories about or spoken with business owners that express concern or confess challenges with foreign competition impacting their operations. Smaller manufacturing and service sector businesses that don’t have the resources for implementing substantial changes to counter this import impact are particularly at risk. Expertise in areas like product development, branding, and market feasibility are typically not staffed positions, and are harder to justify when times get tough. Outside expertise usually gets paid as services are delivered and paid from profit, but flagging profits com- promise using them. Many of these struggling businesses are still unaware of a long-standing resource created specifically for this situation of destructive import impact. HISTORY In an effort to address foreseeable concerns regarding displacement of revenue and therefore workforce due to negative impact from import competition, Congress established a program under the Trade Assistance Act (TAA) of 1962 called the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF). This long-standing but little-known federal program is administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). Unlike the much larger and better known TAA for Workers or “Trade Act” worker retraining program, the TAAF program mission is to “help import-impacted U.S. manufacturing, production, and service firms develop and implement projects to regain global competitiveness, expand markets, strengthen operations, and increase profit- ability, thereby increasing U.S. jobs.” The principal benefit of this program is a matching fund for outside expertise. It is significant that the matching funds are a grant. The funds may be used to hire any qualified outside resource to assist the firm. 8 NORTHWEST AEROSPACE NEWS