Remember back in high school when we all had to take a government or civics class? As teenagers, we probably saw the class as mundane or thought it useless. But what we often overlooked was its purpose of showing us how laws are made and implemented in our country and the importance of our contribution to that process. Now, many moons later, I was once again reminded of that importance as I walked down the hallowed halls of congress during the 2014 NCBFAA Government Affairs Conference (GAC) this past week.
The mission of the GAC is to allow representatives of the association to have face-to-face time with the legislators whose functions affect the industry. I also must stress how important that in person connection is since it is crucial that congressmen and women who make the laws affect our business hear in person from us the issues that matters to us.
On the first day of the GAC, the NCBFAA prepped attendees on the critical issues of the year so that the following day, they would arrive to the offices of their respective representatives with a clear voice and agenda. This year, we brought the following issues up to the hill:
- The Export-Import Bank
- The Trade Agenda
- Customs Reauthorization
- Water Resources Bill and Harbor Maintenance Fee
- Generalized System Preferences (GSP) Renewal
- Miscellaneous Tariff Bill
- Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Renewal
- Modernizing the Logistics of Trade
This year’s GAC was also extra special, because the NCBFAA delegation was able to sit down with the Congressional Port Caucus, an ad hoc group in Congress that promotes the interests of local ports and those engaged in international trade who do business in them.
For me, it was a great experience to be able to voice my concerns as both the NEI Executive Director and as a global logistics practitioner. It is so important that we understand how Congress works, just like in high school, but now more so because it affects the industry and our jobs. We here at the NEI are always working hard to deliver to you valuable content to enrich your knowledge base and I am proud to say that many of the people who develop our content continue to be involved through events such as the GAC in contributing to our country’s complex yet prodigious legislative process.