BMC Members Leverage MEMA Legislative Summit…

June 9, 2014

BMC Members Leverage MEMA Legislative Summit to Move Congress on Asbestos - Containing Imported Brakes

Beyond funding the relevant agencies for the next fiscal year, the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill of 2015, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 29, was a major victory for the AASA / MEMA Brake Manufacturers Council (BMC).

The relevant provision in the bill requires the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) to send a report to Congress regarding imported brake products containing asbestos. Such imports have an unfair advantage over U.S. manufacturers who have forgone the use of asbestos.

“U.S. manufacturers have worked diligently to meet requirements to remove asbestos from their brake friction products over the past 10 years,” said Bill Hanvey, BMC group executive and vice president of AASA “However, some internationally-manufactured brake friction products made with asbestos are still being imported into the U.S. market.”

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s current regulations that ban the manufacture or import of asbestos in the United States do not cover brake friction materials containing asbestos, the BMC has taken a leadership role among U.S. brake material manufacturers to replace the use of asbestos with alternative, albeit more expensive, raw materials. Yet U.S. manufacturers are forced to compete at a disadvantage with foreign manufacturers able to rely on lower cost, hazardous materials and not required to label products as containing asbestos.

Utilizing the opportunity to engage lawmakers on Capitol Hill during MEMA’s legislative summit in April, BMC members met with Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) to express their concerns. Wolf, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, authored the bill which has now passed the House. AASA/MEMA will continue to advocate its position as the appropriations process moves forward.
“This is a clear example of why participation in the Legislative Summit and our advocacy programs work,” said Ann Wilson, senior vice president, government affairs, MEMA. “While there is much discussion of the gridlock and partisan bickering present today in Washington, honest and productive advocacy is still effective and still takes place in the halls of Congress.”

At the state level, legislation banning asbestos in brake friction products goes into effect this year in California and Washington State. AASA and MEMA will continue to work with states and the federal government to level the playing field with foreign imported products.