Water Online Radio: Exporting America's Water Expertise
Maureen Hinman, environmental technology trade specialist at the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce, describes the initiatives that could propel the American water market to new heights.
The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.
Water Online Radio: Maureen, before we get into it, take a quick second and tell us a little bit about you and your background.
Maureen: I work for the International Trade Administration, and that's within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Our job is to promote all of our great U.S. industries abroad, promote exports, and also enforce our U.S. trade agreements.
Water Online Radio: Now, Maureen, I understand the EPA and the Commerce Department are working together, looking at promoting exports. Tell us about that partnership.
Maureen: Great, absolutely. In late 2011, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency resurrected a framework created by Congress about 20 years ago, that has a partnership, in conjunction with some other agencies that are either science agencies or agencies that work within the trade and commerce framework.
It's called the Environment Trade Working Group, or the ETWG, for short. It's part of something called the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee. In Washington, we really love acronyms, so it's the TPCC. It's part of that whole alphabet soup, but essentially it's an intra-governmental organization that facilitates coordination among all federal agencies on trade promotion.
The ETWG had been dormant for about ten years, but in 2011, EPA and the Commerce Department, seeing an opportunity to advance the international competitiveness of the US environmental sector, under President Obama's national export initiative, elected to reinvigorate the working group.
President Obama set a very ambitious goal in 2010, to double our exports by 2014, and we felt there was a strong opportunity within the environmental sector, in particular, the water and wastewater sector, to help contribute to that goal.
Water Online Radio: Why is the government getting involved in the environmental sector?
Maureen: That's a great question…