Twenty-eight members from the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI), IFAI staff and IFAI’s Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) attended this year’s Lobby Days, March 1-3, 2010 in Washington D.C. Those who attended said it was the most effective event yet; members were often recognized by staff and Legislators from past visits. The consensus was that offices visited before are becoming savvy about specialty fabrics, while those offices with less contact with our industry still view textiles as just clothing.
For all office visits, the 2010 USIFI message was that Berry Amendment compliance and Buy America provisions mean jobs for U.S. citizens and U.S. trade needs to be fair. On the Berry Amendment issue, the military shelter supply chain is pursuing a change in interpretation of the Amendment by the Department of Defense to include tent components in the domestic requirement, in addition to tent fabrics.
In terms of trade, USIFI companies are asking Congress to support legislation which creates global fairplay—for example, H.R. 3012, H.R. 2378 and S.1027, bills which address trade and currency issues. Each House office was also asked to co-sign a letter from Congress to be sent to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, addressing the need for immediate action in response to China’s currency manipulation.
USIFI members also met individually with Gail Strickler from the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and Kim Glas of OTEXA in the Department of Commerce. Both are presenters at the Outlook Conference in April at Pinehurst, N.C., U.S.A.