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Md. manufacturers meet with Trump to discuss economy

Drew Greenblatt, president of Marlin Steel, stands in the factory. Marlin is a manufacturer which does precision metal fabrication of industrial baskets.
Drew Greenblatt, president of Marlin Steel, stands in the factory. Marlin is a manufacturer which does precision metal fabrication of industrial baskets. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

President Donald Trump on Friday told a group of manufacturers -- including two from Maryland -- that his administration will stay focused on the industry as it looks for ways to roll back Obama-era regulations and rewrite U.S. trade policy.

The president told the business leaders he is working to lift the burden of "job killing regulations...like never before," hitting on a central theme of his economic message during the campaign. He specifically noted the recent decision to rescind his predecessor's power plant regulations.

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"It's a new surge in optimism which is sweeping all across our land," Trump told the executives.

Two manufacturers from Maryland attended the Roosevelt Room meeting with Trump, Drew Greenblatt, president of Baltimore-based Marlin Steel, and Chuck Wetherington, CEO of BTE Technologies, which is headquartered in Hanover.

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It's not clear whether the conversation turned to substantive issues, like tax reform -- which the administration considers its next big legislative priority on Capitol Hill -- or trade. Trump has promised to unwind large, multi-national free-trade agreements in favor of bilateral deals.

The president was expected to sign two executive orders on unfair trade practices later on Friday.

The meeting's ostensible purpose was to highlight a recent survey from the National Association of Manufacturers. The organization found 93 percent of members have a positive outlook on their businesses, up from 57 percent this time last year.

U.S. manufacturing is continuing to recover from a downturn that spanned late 2015 through 2016.

"We are optimistic about the future; however, we know there is much work to be done, not only on regulatory reform but also on infrastructure investment, workforce development and comprehensive tax reform," Greenblatt said in a statement. "Tax cuts for factories will create millions of great, well-paying manufacturing jobs because we will be able to compete with global competitors."

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