WASHINGTON, DC – The National Association of Manufacturers' top commerce official is calling the Obama administration's trade policies "pragmatic" and open.
In a statement released on the trade group's website, NAM vice president for international economic affairs Frank Vargo called President Obama’s trade policy agenda "a pragmatic one aimed at opening markets and improving the U.S. role in the world economy. ... [I]t talks about improving trade agreements rather than reopening them, and it calls for greater emphasis on seeing that small and medium-sized firms can become more effective exporters and competitors in the global economy." Vargo said the latter is "a very important goal" for NAM, whose membership is largely made up of small- and medium-sized businesses.
"We were pleased to see that the agenda calls for correcting the current imbalance in the Doha Round, and seeking a strong and balanced market-opening outcome. The NAM has been pressing hard for such an approach and will work closely with the President’s trade team to achieve that important goal."
He also lauded the Administration for "reaching out to all stakeholders in framing its agenda."
Vargo also noted the agenda's call for a strong and effective stance on IP protection, which NAM sees as "one of the most essential parts of the NAM trade agenda."
EL SEGUNO, CA — Eight of the Top 10 semiconductor firms suffered revenue declines for the year, according to iSuppli Corp.
The research firm's 2008 reveal that the majority of the industry’s leading companies not only saw sales declines, they also underperformed the overall chip industry for the year.
iSuppli cited a focus on poorly performing markets as a common thread. Some 60% of the Top 25 semiconductor suppliers saw year-over-year revenues decline as well.
Dale Ford, senior vice president, market intelligence services, noted many of the hardest-hit suppliers focus on semiconductor segments that performed poorly during the year — memory, DSPs, analog ICs and standard logic.
Among the nearly 300 companies covered in iSuppli’s global semiconductor rankings, 43% achieved flat-to-positive growth during 2008.
But among the Top 25 suppliers, just 10 firms grew — no. 5 STMicroelectronics, no. 8 Qualcomm, no. 11 NEC Electronics, no. 14 Broadcom, no. 15 Panasonic, no. 18 Sharp Electronics, no. 20 Rohm, no. 22 Marvell Technology, no. 23 MediaTek and no. 24 Fujitsu — and only six actually increasing their sales organically. Qualcomm, NEC, Panasonic, Sharp, Marvell and Fujitsu — saw sales climb 1.5% to 15.3%.
No. 9 Hynix posted the largest revenue decline among the Top 25, at 33.4%, which dropped the memory maker three spots.
ARLINGTON, VA -- Electronic component orders continued to fall in February, but not as sharply as in January, according to the monthly index compiled by the Electronic Components Association. The 12-month average, comparing this year's results to last year's, continued a descent that began last summer.
Although the overall trend continued to be down there was a glimmer of hope from a couple of companies that reported orders above 2008 levels in the last week of the month.
"I believe the numbers show that the economic downturn is affecting different companies in different ways," said Bob Willis, ECA president, in a statement.
SAN JOSE -- Flextronics International, in a statement issued today, said it would cut an undisclosed number of jobs and close certain plants as company tries to rebound from a global slump. Flextronics' holdings include Multek, a global PCB supplier.
Flextronics also said it will move manufacturing capacity to lower-cost sites.
The company will take a pretax restructuring charge of $220 million to $250 million in its fiscal 2009 and 2010 years, including $190 million to $210 million to be booked in the fiscal year ending March 31. The moves are expected to saving $230 million to $260 million a year.
Flextronics did not disclose which plants would be shuttered or the number of employees that would be laid off. It is unclear whether the layoffs referred to by Flextronics include the recent reported closing of its Kuala Lumpur factory, which will reduce the company's headcount by nearly 1,400. The Daily Herald is reporting Flextronics has filed documents in Illinois indicating plans to close operations in Elk Grove Village by May, a move that would cost 113 jobs.
The company will file a Form 8-K with the SEC today containing additional information.
The company said $130 million to $150 million would be cash charges to cover employee benefits and severance.
Flextronics has more than 160,000 workers scattered across 30 countries. In the December quarter, Flextronics laid off at least 1,650 workers and took a charge of $28.3 million.