TOKYO — The United States must launch a strategy to bolster its electronics industry or see its wealth and power decline to the level of a second-rate industrial force, a chief industry representative said Wednesday.
The government must help firms compete against overseas companies and revive an industry that would power the growth of the entire U.S. economy, American Electronics Assn. Chairman Stephen Levy said. Otherwise, the economy will falter, with telecommunications, computers, semiconductor and other key electronics areas continuing a steady, five-year decline against their foreign competitors, said Levy, whose association represents about 3,000 electronics companies.
Electronics firms provide 12.5% of U.S. manufacturing jobs--the highest of any sector--and through innovation and price cutting buoy the growth and productivity of sectors ranging from automobiles to banking, he added.
From Surplus to Deficit
Yet in electronics trade, the United States has gone from a surplus of $7.4 billion in 1980 to an estimated deficit of $8 billion last year, he said, and the electronics trade deficit with Japan alone has risen from $8 billion to an estimated $18 billion over the five-year span.