Business & Economy
Braley Applauds Senate Bill Passage, Protecting Marshalltown Manufacturing Jobs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Monday, 24 September 2012 14:55

Braley-authored language reverses regulation threatening Marshalltown refrigeration manufacturer

Waterloo, IA – In the early morning of Saturday, September 22nd, the United States Senate passed language that is nearly identical to the Better Use of Refrigerator Regulations (BURR) Act introduced by Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03). This bill removes burdensome government regulations that threatened the future of manufacturing of refrigerated deli-style display cases in the United States.

Lennox Industries, Inc., which makes the deli-style display cases covered by the regulation, has a manufacturing facility in Marshalltown, Iowa, that employs about 1,000 people.  The adoption of this bill will help protect Iowa manufacturing jobs.

“I’m proud to continue working across the aisle in the House and Senate to remove these regulations that are putting Iowa jobs at risk,” said Braley. “The Department of Energy had effectively outlawed refrigerated display cases found in grocery stores and delis and that was completely unfair to manufacturing in Iowa. We’re making progress to fix this misguided regulation. Passing this language is an example of getting results by putting politics aside, and coming together to fight for common sense solutions that save jobs in Iowa.”

The problem remedied by this language stems from the federal government’s interpretation of a 2005 law that increases energy efficiency standards for appliances.  The Department of Energy believed it was required by law to include refrigerated deli display cases in the same category as standard refrigerators.  However, the inherent design of such display cases makes it impossible for the equipment to reach the minimum efficiency standards set forth for refrigerators in the 2005 law, effectively outlawing their manufacture in the United States.

Braley and Westmoreland’s Better Use of Refrigerator Regulations Act creates a new energy efficiency category for refrigerated deli-style display cases, effectively reversing the regulation and safeguarding the product’s continued manufacture in Marshalltown and other locations in the US.  This language passed the Senate as an amendment to H.R. 4850, the Enabling Energy Saving Innovations Act. It previously passed the House with overwhelming support on June 21, 2012, as an amendment to HR 4480, the Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012.

A copy of the Better Use of Refrigerator Regulations Amendment can be downloaded at the following link: http://go.usa.gov/vQM

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Going ‘Green’ is Good for Business, Exec Says PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 24 September 2012 14:28
Tips for Companies Trying to Clean Up Their Act

Despite pressing economic worries, the environment remains a top concern for consumers the world over. And that means environmentally-friendly business practices are as necessary for the bottom line as they are for the planet, says Joe Veilleux, president of Euromed USA (euromedusa.com).

“Being a producer of natural ingredients for pharmaceuticals and health supplements, we’ve always held environmentalism as a major company value,” says Veilleux, a registered pharmacist.“We’re glad to see that, even when people face unemployment and other economic hardships, they’re still committed to green practices.”

Recent polls, including BCG’s annual International Global Green Consumer Surveys taken throughout the recession, reveal an unwavering commitment to environmentalism, he says.

“Even at the height of the recession in 2008 and 2009, more than a third of consumers said they were willing to pay a little more for products that are better for the environment,” Veilleux says. “A majority said they consider a company’s environmental credentials when making purchasing decisions.”

Euromed recently earned “green” ISO 14001 certification for its Barcelona factory by meeting stringent criteria established by the world International Standardization Organization, which sets standards for sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.

“In the five-year process of re-engineering our factory to meet the ISO 14001 criteria, we learned a lot that can benefit other companies,” Veilleux says. “Some of the steps we took cost little to nothing; others were, frankly, expensive. But all companies today need to be aware that consumers are looking at what they’re doing to – and for – the planet, and they’re making buying decisions based on that.”

These are some of the initiatives undertaken at Euromed Barcelona, which manufactures herbal extracts and natural active substances for customers in the United States and Europe.

• Recycling biomass – the company’s manufacturing waste product. We’ve found different ways to recycle the post-extraction biomass, depending on the product involved, Veilleux says.  “Much of the residue is sent to companies that specialize in creating bio-gas – specifically, methane, which is used to generate power,” he says. “However, the residue left from milk thistle has such a high nutritional value, it’s actually used to feed farm animals. We ship the waste product to a company that dries it out and cleans it before it’s added to feed for pigs, chickens, cows, and the like. The biomass is given away for free, he adds.

• Wood pallets become compost. At Euromed, wooden pallets are reused until they can’t be used any longer. “At that point, they’re sent to recycling facilities, which use them in composting products,” Veilleux says. This step was easily accomplished by working through waste management companies.

• Printer toners get refilled. Empty toner cartridges are shipped to the company’s supplier, where they’re recharged and returned for use. If not for recycling, the toner cartridges would be deposited in landfills.

• Cleaner air and water. The company purchased new equipment to accomplish these goals, including on-site wastewater treatment and water purification plants, and equipment to decrease atmospheric emissions.

All totaled, Euromed spent $1 million to $2 million to upgrade its factory. It was money well spent, Veilleux says.

“We’re excited about the certification because it verifies that we’re one of the world’s leaders in environmentally friendly production,” he says. “That’s very important to us -- we rely on plants, the Earth’s natural, renewable resources,not only for our business but for our personal health.

“We have a special interest in making everyone aware of how vital it is that we all take steps to prevent environmental damage.

About Euromed USA

Euromed USA supplies standardized botanical and herbal extracts and natural active substances for use in the pharmaceutical, health food and cosmetics industries. By extracting the necessary chemicals, the company can guarantee its products meet the precise chemical specifications necessary. Euromed was founded 40 years ago. Its parent company is the 100-year-old Rottapharm-Madaus corporation based in Italy.

 
Governor Quinn Invites Brazilians to Visit Illinois, Encourages Business Partnerships During Trade Mission PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Erin Wilson   
Monday, 24 September 2012 14:24

State ramps up effort to attract Brazilian visitors as Illinois delegation promotes tourism

São Paulo – September 24, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn invited Brazilians to Illinois today during his trade mission to Brazil to increase tourism, education and business between the state and the South American country. The Governor is addressing members of the travel industry in São Paulo this afternoon to showcase Illinois and Chicago as a visitor destination. Joining Governor Quinn are a host of Illinois businesses and organizations, including Chicago-based United Airlines, to encourage travel to Illinois. The trip is part of Governor Quinn’s economic development program, which promotes Illinois’ business advantages on a global stage.

“Illinois offers Brazilians an authentic American experience,” said Governor Quinn. “Whether it is the world-class culture and scenic lakefront in Chicago, the history of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, the bluffs along the Mississippi River or the farmlands surrounding the historic Route 66 highway, Brazilian travelers will find plenty to enjoy in Illinois.”

Governor Quinn’s effort to draw more Brazilian visitors to Illinois builds on recent tourism gains. Illinois welcomed 56,000 visitors from Brazil in 2011, making Brazilians the seventh largest group of overseas travelers to Illinois. Inbound travel from Brazil to the U.S. is expected to grow 70 percent between 2011 and 2016.

The Illinois tourism industry generated a record $31.8 billion in 2011, up 8.4 percent from a year ago, fueled by a record increase in leisure travel. The robust results emphasize the critical role tourism plays in fueling Illinois’ economic growth, creating jobs and providing additional revenue to the state.

Governor Quinn’s trade mission to Brazil also coincides with increased efforts by Choose Chicago, the city’s official sales and marketing organization, to attract Brazilian visitors and promote Chicago as a business and leisure travel destination. Choose Chicago recently established a new partnership with São Paulo-based Interamerican Network to support Chicago’s tourism efforts in Brazil. Interamerican will provide support for travel trade sales and relations in this important Latin American market.

“Brazil is among Chicago’s top overseas inbound markets,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Choose Chicago, who joined Governor Quinn in Sao Paulo. “With extensive efforts underway to ease the visa process for Brazilian travelers to the United States coupled with daily nonstop service between São Paulo and Chicago, we have a great opportunity to share compelling reasons for Brazilians to travel to Chicago, whether for the first time or as returning visitors.”

United Airlines offers a daily nonstop flight from São Paulo to Chicago. The airline also serves Rio de Janeiro with daily one-stop flights from Chicago.

“More and more Brazilians are choosing Chicago as their destination, whether for business or tourism, and United wants to support and invest in this opportunity,” said Cristiane Franck, country director for Brazil and Argentina at United Airlines. “We recently celebrated 20 years of operations in Brazil and are aligned with the development of the local market.”

More information about Illinois trade and business opportunities can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website at illinoisbiz.biz.

Tourism Facts

·           Illinois is the 8th most visited state by international travelers. (Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)

·          Chicago is the 10th most popular destination for international travelers. (Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)

·           Inbound travel from Brazil to the US is expected to grow 70% from 2011 to 2016 (second highest rate of forecasted growth). (Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)

·           Inbound travel from Brazil to the US grew 26% to 1,508,000 in 2011 from 2010. (Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)

·           Brazil ranks fifth in visitor spending in the U.S., spending a record $8.5 billion in 2011, up 36% from a year earlier. Brazil has seen double-digit growth for eight consecutive years. Travel and tourism account for 39% of all U.S. services exports to Brazil. (Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)

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Grassley, Latham Seek Answers to Concerns Over Bank Regulations Leading to Firings PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:59

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa today asked the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for details of the federal regulations that are meant to protect consumers from financial fraud but might be penalizing bank employees for old, minor infractions that are not a threat to current financial customers.

 

“Indications so far are that the FDIC’s guidance to banks might be problematic,” Grassley said. “We’re asking for the guidance directly to try to determine whether that’s the case.  The rules have to make sense and have their intended effect of protecting the public from bank fraud.  They can’t be so rigid that they result in the firing of workers for petty crimes that are decades-old and have nothing to do with financial fraud.  And they can’t be applied unfairly so they result in a double standard for executives and rank-and-file workers.”

 

“Good citizens are more than willing to follow the rules.  But in typical Washington fashion, the FDIC isn’t sharing what those rules are,” Latham said.  “This creates uncertainty, frustration, and costs everyone involved time and resources.  America’s citizens and businesses deserve better than that from Washington.”

 

In addition to seeking the regulatory guidance the FDIC has given to banks, Grassley and Latham also are seeking the details of the process by which individuals seek waivers from the criminal background regulations.  Grassley and Latham asked for information including the guidance given to FDIC employees on processing waivers; the number of waivers sought, granted and denied; the number of FDIC employees assigned to process waivers; and a list of the documents prospective applicants are asked to provide.

 

Grassley and Latham began reviewing the effects of the banking regulations meant to weed out employees with criminal histories presenting risk of financial fraud after the Des Moines Register reported that Wells Fargo has fired workers including a 68-year-old customer service representative in Des Moines for putting a cardboard dime in a washing machine 49 years ago.  Other constituents have written with similar stories.

 

The text of the Grassley-Latham letter is available here.

 

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Lt. Gov. Reynolds to advance Iowa’s economic opportunity in Germany PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Office of Governor Terry Branstad   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:56

(DES  MOINES) – Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will promote economic opportunities in Germany during a mission beginning September 23, 2012.  She will meet with the German Vice Chancellor and other economic affairs leaders to discuss trade, transportation, energy, health care and education.

 

“Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the world’s fifth largest national economy,” said Reynolds.  “With a population of 82-million, many consider Germany the largest and most important market in Europe.  This mission will result in valuable contacts and visibility across Germany for the state and its business opportunities.”  Time magazine writes Germany has forged the most competitive industrial sector of any advanced economy.  And, the New York Times writes, "The German economy has been one of the wonders of the world over the last couple of years."

 

Reynolds will meet with German Vice Chancellor Dr. Philipp Rosler, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy, a federal minister to the Chancellor, a leader of the Saxon state legislature, the Saxon Minister of Economic Affairs and Transportation, and with energy researchers, university and high school teachers and administrators, business owners, and a hospital medical director.  Meetings take place in Dresden, Lommatzsch, Leipzig, and Berlin.

 

“We will have several discussions with business owners regarding business conditions and the German apprenticeship program,” said Reynolds.  “At one of Germany’s largest universities, we will be briefed on renewable energy projects and hear about how German universities and elected officials are working to address education funding gaps.”

 

Reynolds will tour the largest hospital in Dresden and have opportunities to discuss comparative health care and financing with the medical chair of that hospital and with the German Deputy Minister for Health.  She will be introduced to German approaches to immigration and other urban affairs and then visit a village of 5,000 people to hear about rural challenges and opportunities.

 

“I will get an underground tour of the “Big Dig” rail tunnel project in Leipzig, currently one of Europe’s largest transportation infrastructure projects,” said Reynolds. The project is considered one of the most challenging geotechnical construction projects of its time and, when complete in 2013, will create a long awaited connection to Europe’s largest rail terminal (Leipzig) resulting in greatly enhanced transportation and rail efficiency across that region of Europe.

 

“Lieutenant governors will also be featured at a public forum discussing the U.S. Presidential elections,” said National Lieutenant Governors Association Director Julia Hurst.  “The electoral event will be moderated by an editor of Germany’s largest business daily newspaper.”

 

Organized by the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA), the 7-day mission includes five U.S. lieutenant governors and is hosted by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

 

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