manufacturing, technology acquisition and, of course, employment.'' To this end, he recommends the establishment of a formal commission to bring together representatives from industry, labor, government, and academia to facilitate the development of a national policy to foster the U.S. aerospace industry. Specifically, he recommends the commission should review the transfer of technology and employment, research and development, trade negotiations, export sales and financing, license production and co-production agreements, subcontractor production, countertrade, foreign investment, and labor adjustment programs. The commission could also serve as a means to better understand the competitive environment faced by U.S. companies and their workers, including offset requirements, and advise the government on appropriate policies.
The last paper in the volume by Gordon Healey, of the Defense Industry Offset Association, was made available after the meeting and therefore did not benefit from the same vigorous discussion as the other papers. It is, however, included in the annex because it provides an especially valuable perspective from the offset practitioner's point of view. Healey describes some of the definitional complexities surrounding aerospace offsets and adds support to Mowery's observation that the value of an offset is often in the eye of the beholder. He also emphasizes that U.S. aerospace companies do not voluntarily offer offsets to their customers. They see offsets as expensive, time consuming, difficult to manage, and politically unpalatable at home. Yet he sees offsets as a fact of life in the fierce competition for export sales, arguing that aerospace companies offer offsets with one goal, to win sales, and submits that without offsets, U.S. companies will lose sales.
From his practitioners' perspective, Healey suggests that solutions are likely to emerge only slowly as the industry evolves. In the meantime, the DIOA urges that no unilateral action be taken by the U.S. government, but does advocate improved data collection and multilateral discussions to limit offsets where possible. At the same time, he supports maintaining a domestic dialogue among concerned parties while urging that the impact of offsets be kept in perspective in light of the industry's performance.
Despite the complexity of the issues taken up by the symposium, it is our hope that the papers and discussions presented here will contribute to resolving questions concerning the definition, rationale, and consequences of offsets. At the same time, the analysis and discussion raise other questions concerning the future impact of offsets on the U.S. aerospace industry and its workers and, more broadly, the adequacy of current U.S. policy for the aerospace sector in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
CHARLES W. WESSNER