Every good business must from time to time take a moment to assess its progress and future direction and stay connected to its community. Recently, IWPA did that at our annual Member Meeting and Washington Briefing. This year we updated our Strategic Plan and took the time to educate policymakers about our industry’s needs.
To make attendees’ time away from their families and business as valuable as possible, IWPA organized issue briefings that featured policymakers who are working on matters of particular importance to our industry, including recent changes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new formaldehyde emission regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s implementation of the CITES rosewood listing, and renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. We were particularly pleased to hear from FWS staff about their work to address industry concerns about how the CITES rosewood listing has led to supply chain delays and disruptions. This issue is costing U.S. manufacturers and many companies that supply these remarkable products time and money in a way that has a direct impact on actual American jobs. IWPA is continuing to work closely with industry allies to ensure that leaders at FWS and in Congress understand the importance of addressing this matter in the lead up to the next CITES Conference of Parties.
For many, the highlight of our Washington Briefing is getting out of the conference room and heading to Capitol Hill for meetings with Members of Congress and their staff. This year there was a clear message that both the Trump Administration and many in Congress are committed to doing even more to start to pare back federal regulations that have been a drag on economic growth and job creation. EPA has been working diligently to address many of the concerns IWPA and our allies have raised about the formaldehyde emission regulation, but there is considerable work left to be done to outstanding issues such as unnecessary additional burden of the import certification requirement. Tax reform also has a renewed focus on Capitol Hill, thankfully without the much maligned Border Adjustment Tax.
In order to accomplish IWPA’s mission of “building acceptance and demand in North America for globally sourced wood products from sustainably managed forests,” it is clear that our members must be active in educating those in government who have been elected and appointed to represent them in government. Attendance at our Member Meeting and Washington Briefing is a great first step. But there are other ways for members to get involved. By signing up to participate in one or more of IWPA’s member-led committees, you can make sure you are part of process of determining how IWPA responds to critical issues. We are also hopeful that those who are committed to the long-term health of our industry will consider putting their name forward for service on our Board of Directors.
We at IWPA look forward to each opportunity to help members get more engaged. We love to host members in Washington, D.C. and facilitate meetings with policymakers. We are also always looking for opportunities to help get policymakers out of Washington and to your facilities so they can get a hands-on lesson about the important products and services our industry provides to American manufacturers and consumers each day. If this sounds interesting to you, please let us know!