Andy Nuffer, General Manager at Thompson Mahogany Company, was invited to join the White House Business Council and Business Forward for a briefing at the White House with senior White House and Administration officials on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 to discuss the President’s export and international trade agenda.
It was an opportunity to participate in a candid discussion with senior Administration officials about the impact of international trade policies on your business and the national economy. Panelists included U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Small Business Association Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.
Nuffer commented, “ It was an honor to be invited. Over the course of the meetings, I was relieved to find that some of the issues facing our company today are also issues that are shared by other industries. This visit to Washington, D.C., allowed us as business leaders to voice our concerns, ask questions, and help our elected officials create the best policies going forward. It was certainly a productive meeting.”
The Briefing and Discussion was held at The White House in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. .
Between 50 and 60 executives from a variety of industries attended from all over the United States to join the discussion. Andy was the only representative from the hardwood lumber industry.
The introduction was given by Nate Jenkins, Deputy Director, Private Sector Engagement, The White House. The Briefing and Q&A Session was focused on “The Status of Current Trade Negotiations and Why Your Input Matters” presented by Robert Holleyman, Deputy United States Trade Representative and Ambassador, Office of he U.S. Trade Representative, along with Greg Nelson, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council, The White House. Following the briefing, remarks were given by Jeff Zients, Director, National Economic Council, The White House.
The first Panel Discussion was focused on “The Benefits Improved Trade Agreements Will Bring Small Businesses” and was moderated by Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration and Fred Hochberg, Chairman and President, Export-Import Bank of the United States.
The second Panel Discussion was focused on “The Resources Available to Help Businesses Expand to New Markets, Congressional Outlook” and was moderated by Arun Venkataraman, Policy Director, International Trade Administration, Doug McKalip, Senior Policy Advisor for Rural Affairs, The White House, and Antwaun Griffin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations, International Trade Administration. Penny Pritzker, Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce, gave closing remarks.
One of the main focuses of the meeting was to showcase the steps the United States Government has been developing to develop trade agreements to increase domestic exports as a whole. The current focus has been developing and implementing the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and this was discussed at length. In addition, new developments regarding TTIP (Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), were discussed during the meeting.
The discussions were in a roundtable fashion, with each speaker on the agenda communicating their points, and then the audience was given the opportunity to ask questions. After the end of the formal discussions at the White House, the group attended a reception hosted by Business Forward.
Andy was also able to visit some Senators and Congressman the next day. He visited the offices of Congressman Jeff Duncan, Senator Pat Toomey, Congressman Bob Brady, and Congressman Brendan Boyles. Andy met with Congressman Jeff Duncan face to face for about 30 minutes. He also met with staff for the other three Representatives mentioned above. These meetings were scheduled and orchestrated by Joe O’Donnell (International Wood Products Association), and Joe O’Donnell was in attendance as well.
Andy Nuffer and Thompson Mahogany Company were honored to be part of such an exciting and important discussion. Our hope is to continue business and policy development by working closely with our elected officials. These discussions are a starting point that will allow companies to drive innovation and bring products to market around the globe.
Thompson Mahogany Company is one of America’s oldest companies, and has been importing wood products and lumber from around the globe since 1843. In 2009, Thompson Mahogany and East Teak Fine Hardwoods merged to form the premier fine hardwood lumber company in the United States.
With facilities in California, Washington state, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania, Thompson Mahogany Company and East Teak Fine Hardwoods are your one stop shop for lumber, decking, mouldings and millwork, and exotic plywoods. For more general information, or information on how to reach our sales department, visit us at thompsonmahogany.com and eastteak.com