(CNN) -- President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed into law an act that reduces or suspends tariffs paid by American companies on certain imports needed to manufacture their products.
The Manufacturing Enhancement Act easily passed both chambers of Congress earlier this year.
At the White House signing ceremony, Obama thanked Democrats and Republicans for working together on the measure and called for similar bipartisan support for an additional $5 billion in clean-energy tax credits.
"Don't let politics get in the way of doing what's right for our economy and for our future," said Obama, who was joined by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk at the ceremony.
American manufacturing was badly hurt by the economic recession, but had been in decline before then, Obama noted.
"Our economy has fallen into the habit of buying from overseas," he said, noting a 33 percent drop in the U.S. manufacturing workforce in recent decades."It is vitally important that we reverse that trend."
Steps like the bill he signed Wednesday will help U.S. companies build competitive products for sale in foreign markets and allow the nation to meet his inauguration goal of doubling exports within five years, Obama said.
"When the playing field is even, American workers can compete with anybody," he added.