Establishing a Presence in Washington, D.C.
My first full year as the new president and CEO of the Forging Industry Association (FIA) was eventful and exciting! With the board’s direction, we quickly understood our number-one priority was to establish a greater presence in Washington, D.C. in order to keep pace with dynamic trade-policy changes. 2018 proved to be a year of change and renewal as FIA moved in a new direction with its public-policy team.
Engaging with Cassidy Levy Kent LLP – leading trade attorneys in Washington, D.C. – was a first for FIA and set the trajectory for our first serious interactions with the Department of Commerce and the USTR. The trade law firm was successful in further defining categories of forgings to assist government officials in identifying unfair trade against our members. Write me if you’d like to see our public filings on this matter.
New FIA Lobby Firm on Board
On Feb. 6, eight members of FIA’s Public Policy Committee met at Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas’ (MCRT) offices not far from the White House to begin planning our 2019 calendar and beyond.
“We had an excellent meeting and got a nice head start on defining public-policy issues critical to our membership,” said Will Walker, president and CEO of Walker Forge and chair of FIA.
A bipartisan government relations firm, MCRT has a deep bench of 21 lobbyists and specialists and a great reputation on Capitol Hill.
“Our team of senior lobbyists is recognized as one of the most effective in Washington,” said MCRT Founding Partner David Castagnetti. “It is our great pleasure to work with FIA and assist them in expanding their reach on Capitol Hill.”
FIA Lobby Day Returns April 9-10
Changes are on the horizon for FIA Lobby Day! FIA is inviting representatives from the key agencies (Department of Commerce and USTR) to address our group for further understanding of how we can respond to and protect ourselves from unfair international trade practices. Additionally, it is our chance to share our concerns and frustrations in-person with agency administrators. We have a convenient venue (walking distance to all meetings) and have upgraded to the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill.
USMCA Ratification and Steel Tariffs
Several Public Policy Committee members took advantage of their February visit to D.C. to meet with their lawmakers and voice their concerns about steel tariffs and trade in general. FIA has urged Congress to work with the administration to have these tariffs removed as soon as possible. These tariffs have created significant problems for downstream users of those products, such as U.S.-based forgers. Increased prices, longer lead times and increased imports of foreign-produced forgings are making U.S. forgers uncompetitive both domestically and globally.
Public Policy Committee members who took meetings with lawmakers were encouraged to learn that their lawmakers agreed with them concerning tariffs. It appears the passing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and removal of steel tariffs are joined at the hip. Passage of USMCA won’t likely happen without the removal of steel tariffs.
Some lawmakers have told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico should be removed before the new NAFTA gets voted on. FIA has learned that bipartisan lawmakers have warned the administration that the USMCA would likely fail, in either or both chambers, while tariffs remain in place.
FIA is proud to represent the forging industry. Our members supply products essential to national security, including forgings for combat vehicles, small-caliber weapons and ordnance; and forgings used in building airplanes, helicopters, ships and submarines. Additionally, steel and aluminum forgings are vital to national security because of their use across all segments of our industrial economy. Forgings form the backbone of planes, trains, trucks, construction equipment, agricultural equipment, energy production and infrastructure.