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From trade to timber, SMA sets policy goals

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The Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) will press the Trump administration for action on several steelrelated policy initiatives in 2017.

On the trade front, the Washington-based association hopes to see the enforcement of certain measures passed by the 114th Congress, namely the Leveling the Playing Field Act and the Enforce and Protect Act, according to Adam Parr, SMA vice president of policy and communications.

“The government has a lot of new tools at their disposal, and we want to make sure those are properly enacted, funded and carried out,” Parr said during a recent webinar hosted by the Association of Women in the Metals Industries (AWMI).

Overcapacity remains a key concern. China’s pledge to cut its steel production by 100-million to 150-million tonnes through 2020 is not sufficient, the SMA executive said flatly. China’s bid for marketeconomy status under the World Trade Organization (WTO) is another trade issue the SMA will continue to focus on in 2017.

Trade agreements—notably the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta)—will remain an important issue in 2017, particularly following President Trump’s order to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans- Pacific Partnersip, Parr pointed out. “We still think (Nafta) is a good agreement,” the SMA executive allowed. “At the same time, that agreement is over two decades old and is probably due for some updates, but it should be done in a focused, very specific area,” he cautioned.

Infrastructure investment has been highlighted as a top priority for the new administration. Although specific details regarding the scope and timing of the plan have yet to surface, SMA supports a strong focus on major infrastructure projects, rather than “filling potholes” and long-term funding.

SMA will continue to fight the Timber Innovation Act, which promotes the use of wood in tall building projects, by increasing outreach and awareness.

“The new bill has not been released for this Congress, but we think it will be,” Parr said. “This (bill) is not creating any new demand in the marketplace; it is cannibalizing demand from other industries by using taxpayer funds,” he charged.


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