WWEMA: Building Doors

July 21, 2015

Milton Berle once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

The Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Assn. (WWEMA) is all about creating opportunities, both for our members and for the industry as a whole. While many think of mid-summer as a time to slow down and take it easy, we are busy this month tracking and promoting three potential areas of opportunity:

Ex-Im Bank: WWEMA joined with 865 organizations across the United States last year to send a strong message to Congress that the Export-Import Bank should be reauthorized. Congress extended its charter from September 30, 2014, to June 30, 2015, but that extension has now expired. We are once again joining forces with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more than 1,000 businesses and organizations to ask Congress for reauthorization.

Ex-Im provides loans, loan guarantees and export credit insurance to help cover financing gaps for American exporters. It helps level the playing field for U.S. companies seeking new sales in fiercely competitive global markets. The bank helps U.S. companies—including small and medium-sized businesses—sell their products overseas, creates jobs for American workers and grows the U.S. economy.

For more information and to learn how you can support this effort, please visit the Action Alerts page on the WWEMA website.

Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA): WWEMA—along with the American Water Works Assn., the Assn. of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the National Assn. of Clean Water Agencies and the Water Environment Federation—last week sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in favor of an amendment to make funding more readily available for our industry through WIFIA.

The amendment was part of the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act, and it would eliminate a last-minute provision that had been added to WIFIA upon its passage in 2014 prohibiting communities from funding water infrastructure projects with a combination of WIFIA loans and tax-exempt debt. The amendment unanimously passed in committee, and we will continue to advocate for this measure as it moves through the legislative process.

Environmental Goods Agreement: From July 27 to 31, the United States and 16 other World Trade Organization members will engage in negotiation of a plurilateral agreement to eliminate tariffs on environmental goods. The pact currently under consideration is reported to propose tariff elimination for some 650 products, including many water and wastewater treatment products that were included due to WWEMA’s efforts. We will be closely monitoring these talks and reporting on them to our membership.

I hope each of you will join with WWEMA in these efforts and others as we work together to “build doors” that will allow opportunity to come a-knocking! For more information on WWEMA, check out our website at www.wwema.org.

Vanessa M. Leiby is executive director of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Assn., a Washington, D.C.-based trade organization that has represented the interests of manufacturers serving the water supply and wastewater treatment industry since 1908. Leiby can be reached at [email protected].