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The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) announced 2017 advocacy priorities that include smarter regulations to unleash economic growth, comprehensive tax reform, efficient transportation and trade policies that advance U.S. competitiveness.

The association will pursue these over the coming year to support the paper and wood product manufacturing industry’s ability to create jobs and grow the economy.

“With 900,000 employees in family-wage jobs in large and small communities across 45 states, the forest products industry is the face of U.S. manufacturing. Our future grows even brighter when forward-thinking public policy unleashes our ability to invest, innovate and compete on a greater scale at home and around the globe,” said AF&PA president and chief executive officer Donna Harman. “We look forward to working with the new Administration and Congress to achieve shared goals of growing the economy and creating opportunity for all Americans. Along that road, we will support policies that ensure regulations do more good than harm. And we will back key steps, including comprehensive tax reform, efficient transportation measures and trade measures that recognize our strong global market position, to set a foundation for economic expansion now and in decades to come.”

AF&PA’s top advocacy priorities for the coming year:

•Smarter Regulations to Grow the Economy: The cost, complexity and volume of regulations disproportionately affects manufacturers. Regulations must be designed to provide net benefits based on the best scientific and technical information through a transparent and accountable rulemaking process, with due consideration of the cumulative regulatory burden. A top focus remains resolving the regulatory treatment of biomass carbon. In addition, we will work to stem the tide of overreach on air and water regulations affecting the industry, including modernizing the cumbersome air permit process and ensuring reasonable, science-based human health water quality criteria.
•Comprehensive Tax Reform: Comprehensive reform of our tax system will improve economic growth, job opportunity, capital investment and the competitiveness of U.S.-based businesses and is critical. Lower tax rates are needed for all businesses and reforms should support investment in US manufacturing while recognizing the complex global supply chains that make robust US manufacturing possible.
•Transportation Efficiency: Our industry’s shipping functions must be globally competitive. Safely increasing truck weight limits on federal interstate highways and freight rail system rate and service improvements are necessary and have our support.
•Trade: U.S. paper and wood product manufacturers need unrestricted access to international markets and a level playing field among international competitors through the elimination of both tariff and non-tariff barriers. Trade agreements that generate substantive economic benefit to U.S. forest products manufacturers and their workers should be maintained. Enforcement of trade agreements and laws that ensure all nations play by the rules so that trade flow is not arbitrarily distorted are essential.

Published in the February 2017 Edition of American Recycler News