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Benton County Chambers Host Washington, D.C. Fly-in

Posted by: JustinFreeman on Tuesday, November 7, 2017
The Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce hosted a Washington, D.C. Fly-in for a dozen members and their guests on September 27 and 28. International trade issues and I-49 funding dominated the congressional meetings during the trip. The Bekaert Issue Congressman Steve Womack hosted the group at a meeting of his colleagues held in the House Appropriations Committee room located in the Rayburn Congressional Office Building. At issue was an International Trade Commission (ITC) Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties Investigation that is currently underway. This meeting of Congressional members and their staffs was the continuation of an earlier meeting in May, which was organized by the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce for the Arkansas federal delegation. That event was held at the Embassy Suites and was hosted by Bekaert, a Belgian company, which has a major facility located in Rogers. The ITC anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigation involves carbon and alloy steel imports from certain countries and their significant impact on Bekaert and several international companies with facilities in Arkansas. Because of the Commission’s recent rulings, planned expansions worth $86 million are currently on hold at the Bekaert facilities, located in both Rogers and Van Buren. Bekaert customers, located in Texarkana, and competitors, located in Conway and Pine Bluff, are also affected by the recent ITC rulings. In the meeting, Congressmen and their staffers, representing 37 Congressional districts across 18 states containing affected companies, were on hand to hear presentations by representatives from Bekaert and from the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association. It is estimated that the industry has an overall economic impact of more than $3.2 billion and represents over 16,000 jobs in Arkansas. A total of $148 billion in economic impact and 737,000 jobs in the United States could be affected by the ITC ruling on this issue. Congressman Womack has taken the lead on this issue and has pledged to gather the support of his colleagues to study this ITC ruling and recommend changes that will lessen its impact in their districts. To learn more about the economic impact of this industry on Arkansas and the United States, go to https://www.ustires.org/powering-us-economy. NWA Family Dinner and Night Tour of the Capitol Congressman Womack, Senator Boozman, and members of their staffs joined the group for an informal dinner at Hill Country BBQ. After dinner, Congressman Womack and Senator Boozman hosted a night tour of the U.S. Capitol Building. They escorted the group to the Senate and House floors, and the group took photographs from the “Speaker’s Balcony,” which provides one of the most stunning nighttime views of the Washington Monument and our nation’s Capital City. Many thanks to the Congressman and Senator for taking so much time to make everyone feel at home in Washington, D.C. I-49 Funding Update Nelson Peacock, with the Northwest Arkansas Council, attended the Benton County Chambers Fly-in and held meetings with Senator Boozman (R-AR.), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO.), Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO.), Congressman Billy Long (R-MO), and Congressman Steve Womack (R-AR.). They have all agreed to sign on to a bipartisan letter of support for the grant application of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission (NWRPC) for $32 million to complete the Missouri section of the Missouri-Arkansas Connector. The Council will be working with the NWRPC to enlist local support for the application as well. The Council is also joining with consultants in Missouri to work with state officials and MODOT to support the project, given that MODOT’s current priorities are area projects in St. Louis and Kansas City. Thank You to Sponsors and Announcement of Next Year’s Trip Thank you to AT&T, Bekaert Corporation, McKee Foods, Tyson Foods, Walmart, and XNA for sponsoring this year’s trip. Mark your calendars for next year’s Washington, D.C. Fly-in, which will take place on September 19 and 20, 2018. If you are interested in attending the 2018 trip, please contact Jon Moran at jon@rogerslowell.com.

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