Washington — International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) CEO GP Russ Chaney and other IAPMO executives on Tuesday met with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in his office at the U.S. Department of Commerce headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss ways Commerce and the industry can increase U.S. exports and ensure their competitiveness in foreign markets.
Joined by Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Dain Hansen, Executive Vice President of Global Operations Gaby Davis, and Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Research Pete DeMarco, Chaney demonstrated to Sec. Ross how The IAPMO Group’s work with the International Trade Administration’s Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) and the United States and Foreign Commercial Service and Standards Attachés has resulted in an 85 percent increase in total annualized plumbing exports to Indonesia.
Commerce’s FY 2019 budget proposes to remove key resources the plumbing industry uses to open new markets, eliminate the MDCP program, and close overseas and domestic offices, moves that would drastically stifle the significant industry growth these resources have spurred.
“With the long-standing partnership and close collaboration IAPMO has enjoyed with the Department of Commerce over the years, and the successful programs we have implemented together, it is refreshing to see this commitment and support continue from Secretary Ross. It is evident Secretary Ross understands the issues IAPMO and the entire industry face, and we look forward to working with him and his entire team moving forward.” Chaney said.
Further, Chaney stressed the tremendous need for practical, demand-side water research that can immediately inform actions U.S. states and cities are taking to conserve vital water resources, research essential to addressing growing rates of legionella. In its 2016 Report to Congress, the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) recommended Congress act swiftly to require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to reopen its plumbing research facility, citing a need for federal government leadership to prevent another crisis such as the one in Flint, Michigan. Chaney urged Sec. Ross’ and the administration’s support for NIBS’ recommendation.
The U.S. plumbing sector is a $92 billion industry employing more than 500,000 people through more than 106,000 businesses. The U.S. plumbing manufacturing sector represents $8.4 billion of that and is steadily growing, with domestic demand for plumbing products expected to rise 6.3 percent annually. Globally, U.S. plumbing manufacturers export to 198 markets worldwide to satisfy a $26 billion world plumbing market.
Through an MDCP award, The IAPMO Group signed an MoU with Indonesia’s national standards body in 2013 that laid out a roadmap for the development and implementation of a new national standard for plumbing. This comprehensive body of regulations, released in March 2015, is now the technical basis for Indonesia’s water/sanitation infrastructure. To date, more than 150 MDCP projects have been funded, targeting 46 different export markets, and generating, on average, $32 million per year. In its FY 2018 Budget Justification, Commerce estimated discontinuation of the $1.5 million MCDP would eliminate $240 million in U.S. exports annually.
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