Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) delivered important insights to its members on federal infrastructure legislation and critical housing and trade issues during the PMI Virtual Legislative Forum on June 24.
"Our members gained access to valuable information from experts with remarkable knowledge and insights into issues affecting our industry," said Kerry Stackpole, PMI CEO/executive director. "PMI members who could not attend will still have access to the forum's recording and presentations, as well as to materials they can use to advocate on behalf of their companies to members of Congress."
The two-hour forum was divided into four sessions. The first session, "Eye on Housing," provided an economic analysis and forecast of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on home and apartment building from Robert Dietz, chief economist and senior vice president for economics and housing policy, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). He discussed the current construction and housing industry outlook and how housing will be a leading element for the nation's overall recovery.
Ed Mortimer, vice president of transportation and infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, provided an update during the second session on various transportation and water infrastructure legislation designed to retain or create jobs, repair old systems, and stimulate consumer spending. He covered some of the key elements necessary to pass this vital legislation, including bipartisan solutions and the need for organizations, such as PMI, to continue their advocacy efforts.
During her presentation on the "Future of Trade in the Wake of COVID-19" during the forum's third session, trade lawyer Nicole Bivens Collinson reviewed the dynamics of the United States-China tariff negotiations, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) effective on July 1, and the impact the pandemic is having on supply chains. Bivens is president of the international trade, customs and export law practice at Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, Pennsylvania.
Collinson discussed the short windows that PMI member companies have to ask the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for extensions to some previously approved China tariff exclusions. Depending on the plumbing product or component, the deadlines to request an extension range from July 7–31. The extensions would last for one year and are being offered in an apparent bow to concerns about the tariffs' impact on companies struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. The move would apply to some products excluded from the 25 percent tariffs that the Trump administration imposed on Chinese goods.
The final session, "Outreach to Congress: Take Action and Urge Lawmakers to Support Robust Infrastructure Package," provided tools and information to assist PMI members in their advocacy efforts for the plumbing manufacturing industry. The tools include a customizable letter that members can use to urge local lawmakers to pass important infrastructure legislation and a directory of Congressional members.
The forum was hosted by Stackpole, as well as by the co-chairs of PMI's Advocacy/Government Affairs Committee, Troy Benavidez, vice president of public affairs for LIXIL, and Lowell Lampen, engineering director, K&B NA sanitary products, Kohler Co., and Stephanie Salmon, PMI's government affairs consultant.