Export Promotion Discussion With American Engineering Companies

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By Marc Lemmond

Last week I had the pleasure of joining Michelle DePass, Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs, as she talked to members of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) about EPA’s export promotion strategy.

ACEC’s Annual Convention and Legislative Summit was held from April 21-24 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. It was designed to provide an opportunity to obtain information about and discuss issues affecting the engineering industry through educational and social programs. Assistant Administrator DePass was joined by the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services, Nicole Lamb-Hale, in speaking to ACEC’s International Committee. The Assistant Administrator discussed the progress of EPA export promotion work to date and plans for continued progress.

The export promotion strategy was launched last May by former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. In accordance with this strategy, EPA is working to help improve the domestic economy by facilitating exports of U.S. environmental technologies. The U.S. environmental technologies sector is globally competitive and important to our economy. In 2010, the industry had an estimated $312 billion in revenue, employed 1.7 million Americans, included 61,000 small businesses, and enjoyed an international trade surplus (Environmental Business International).

ACEC represents America’s engineering industry. Its membership represents more than 500,000 U.S. employees and more than $200 billion of economic activity annually. Environmental consulting and engineering involves analyzing, measuring, and developing strategies to address environmental issues. Engineering helps to translate individual environmental products into effective environmental solutions for clients across the spectrum of industries around the world. ACEC members were particularly interested in addressing what they felt were unfair foreign procurement practices and boosting EPA awareness of technological advancements in environmental technologies.

EPA’s Trade and Economics Program works with the Office of the United States Trade Representative and other federal agencies on issues relating to the nexus between trade and the environment. Through this work, EPA encourages transparency, fairness, and cooperation to promote the trade and environment agenda, and advance environmental stewardship. Assistant Administrator DePass explained that EPA’s export promotion strategy is not designed to endorse any specific company or technology, but provides a mechanism to link EPA analysis to U.S. environmental solutions providers and international markets.

We look forward to working with ACEC to emphasize the role of environmental consulting and engineering in international environmental solutions.

About the author: Marc Lemmond works to implement EPA’s Export Promotion Strategy as a part of the Trade and Economics Program in the Office of International and Tribal Affairs.  He has extensive public and private sector experience with the environmental technologies industry.  Marc holds a Master’s degree in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University.