October 28, 2002
News Release 02-102
Inv. No. 332-435


The current global competitive conditions in the tool, die, and industrial mold markets pose new challenges with potentially significant implications for the U.S. industry, as well as many foreign industry competitors, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in its publication Tools, Dies, and Industrial Molds: Competitive Conditions in the United States and Selected Foreign Markets. Producers worldwide report a constant challenge to reduce costs and shorten delivery times, all within the context of an increasingly competitive and dynamic global market.

The United States is one of the world's leading producers of tools, dies, and industrial molds (TDM or tooling) and is also a major importer. The principal challenges facing the U.S. TDM industry include: (1) the recent downturn in the U.S. economy and its slow recovery; (2) a shrinking domestic market due to the migration of manufacturing customers to foreign locations; (3) excess capacity due to reduced domestic market demand and to increased productivity resulting from new technologies; (4) customer demands for lower prices and more services; (5) increasing foreign competition; and (6) rising costs, particularly labor-related costs.

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, recently completed the study for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means. As requested, the ITC reported on the competitive conditions affecting the U.S. tooling industry, competition from other important producing countries, strengths and weaknesses of U.S. and foreign producers, and challenges facing the U.S. tooling industry. Following are highlights of the report:

Tools, Dies, and Industrial Molds: Competitive Conditions in the United States and Selected Foreign Markets (Inv. No. 332-435, USITC Publication 3556, October 2002) will be available on the ITC's Internet server at www.usitc.gov. A printed copy may be requested by calling 202-205-1809 or by writing the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may be faxed to 202-205-2104.

ITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Senate Committee on Finance, or the House Committee on Ways and Means. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the ITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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