As many readers of Import/Export Wood Purchasing News will recall, our mission at the International Wood Products Association is “to build acceptance and demand in North America for globally sourced wood products from sustainably managed forests.” This work takes many important forms, but perhaps the most critical is the unending work our staff and member leaders do to educate policymakers about how trade in globally sourced wood products benefits North American manufacturers and consumers while also helping to protect the health of global forests.
As a small (but mighty) team, we must leverage our members to help us educate those in government who have been elected and appointed to represent them in government. That is why it is essential for the industry to join together in our nation’s capital and share their concerns with policymakers. We accomplish this by bringing our members together each fall in Washington, DC at IWPA’s Fall Fly-In. This year’s Fly-In, which will be held from September 27 – 29, will include briefings with policymakers on critical topics impacting the global timber trade as well as a full day on Capitol Hill meeting with Members of Congress, Senators, and staff to highlight the import role your companies play in their districts.
This fall, we are looking to expand that outreach by encouraging as many members as possible to attend. Those who travel to Washington will help us build momentum as we push for fairness and accountability in Lacey Act enforcement and retroactive renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences program in order to get the duties paid for the last two and a half years back into the pockets of the U.S. companies that paid them.
We will make sure each participant is armed with the information and know how they need to be an effective advocate for our industry. We will hold a pre-Fly-In advocacy webinar to educate participants on the topics we will discuss as well as mock Capitol Hill meetings so folks will know exactly what to expect.
As we gear up for next year’s election season during which we expect many candidates to espouse populist, anti-trade positions, these meetings are crucial in putting faces and names to the policy issues we seek their help on throughout the year.
Whether you can join us in Washington, DC or not, know that IWPA is carrying your concerns to the halls of Congress and championing the industry that supports so many jobs around the country.