Washington — The first lobbying fly-in for the plastics industry in the Trump administration brought about 100 executives to Washington July 25-26, looking for a Trump bump for their agenda.
Companies from six industry trade associations fanned out across Congressional offices for about 100 meetings to talk about trade, tax reform, apprenticeships, infrastructure, the regulatory environment and health care.
In some cases, the group was playing offense, like pushing for "open competition" for plastic pipe in government purchasing, a potentially lucrative market if large government infrastructure rebuilding programs move ahead.
But on other topics, the posture was more defensive: arguing in favor of trade deals like NAFTA, which President Donald Trump sharply criticized on the campaign trail.
The group was briefed by Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and George Sifakis, the director of the White House's Office of Public Liaison. Leaders said they generally viewed Trump's election as a positive for their agenda.
"We have a president of the United States that knows business and is keenly interested in business, and knows what's important to businesses," said Benjamin Harp, president of the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors, an Indianapolis-based group participating in the fly-in.
"I think we all look at it as a really good opportunity," said Harp, who is also chief operating officer of injection molder Polymer Conversions Inc.