The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), publisher of the Uniform Codes, the provisions of which protect people across five continents, has been awarded a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration's (ITA) Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP). Now a two-time recipient, IAPMO previously received the MDCP grant in 2013.
Through this project, IAPMO will work with U.S. manufacturers to increase the flow of plumbing exports to Southeast Asian countries by removing burdensome export requirements and technical barriers to trade currently in place. Ultimately, this collaboration between ITA and IAPMO will help countries meet critical infrastructure and climatic trends in the region, paving the way for increased U.S. exports of environmental-related technologies and services for decades to come.
The MDCP program provides financial and technical assistance to support projects that encourage U.S. companies to export. Projects range in scope from helping companies to secure export financing to addressing non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports such as discriminatory regulations, local content requirements, and onerous conformity assessment requirements. Since 1993, approximately 150 MDCP projects have been funded, targeting 46 different export markets. MDCP awards have gone to organizations in 31 states and the District of Columbia. On average, MDCP projects generate $97 million in exports over the three-year project period, or about $32 million per year.
"I applaud IAPMO on receiving a 2021 Market Development Cooperator Program award for its devotion to promoting clean water and sanitation," said U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. "IAPMO's work in testing and standards aims to help navigate export pathways for U.S. companies while also cutting costs and relieving burdens for U.S. exporters in certain Indo-Pacific markets. This kind of innovation is crucial in recovering our economy and increasing competitiveness of American industries."
Through this funding, IAPMO will help expand United States exports in the following manner:
Southeast Asian countries have identified water, including water conservation and efficient use, as a key driver to sustainable development. However, the region reports substantially lower changes in water efficiency over time compared to other developed regions in the world according to the United Nations. The sustainability of water resources is further threatened by growth in population, increased urbanization, and reduced water availability.
"We are thrilled to have been awarded another federal grant by the International Trade Administration," said IAPMO CEO Dave Viola. "Our public-private partnership with the Department of Commerce has proven overwhelmingly successful and beneficial — not only to IAPMO and the industry, but also to the countries with whom we partner."
While MDCP financial assistance awards often are given to trade associations and other non-profit industry groups, the ultimate beneficiaries of MDCP-funded projects are individual U.S. businesses and the U.S. workers they employ. On average, one U.S. job is created or sustained for every $180,000 in exports, translating to 178 U.S. jobs each year that are created or sustained by an MDCP project. In any given year, there are approximately 18 active MDCP projects, meaning that program-wide MDCP-project-generated exports create or sustain about 3,200 jobs annually.
IAPMO's 2013 MDCP grant intended to increase the competitiveness of the U.S. plumbing supply industry abroad by generating exports to Indonesia was extremely successful. A 2013 memorandum of understanding between IAPMO and Indonesia's National Standardzation Agency resulted in a comprehensive body of regulations — SNI 8153:2015, Plumbing Systems for Buildings — being adopted as the technical basis for Indonesia's water/sanitation infrastructure. As a result, total annualized U.S. plumbing exports to Indonesia increased by 85% over the pre-project period baseline.
For its efforts, IAPMO in 2019 was honored by Commerce with the President's "E" Award for Export Service in recognition of the organization's achievement in making significant contributions to an increase in U.S. exports, particularly its success in supporting foreign adoption of U.S. developed and internationally recognized plumbing standards to open new export markets in Asia.
The IAPMO/ITA partnership is an example of how the U.S. government and private sector can work together to realize the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region in partnership with foreign markets. The work of this partnership not only advances fair and reciprocal trade for U.S. plumbing exports, but also advances high-quality infrastructure development for Asia — a region that needs roughly $26 trillion of infrastructure investment by 2030, according to Commerce.