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Coon Examines Hot Button Issues for the Association

Speaking to members at RVIA’s Annual Membership Meeting during Committee Week in Washington, D.C. on June 7, RVIA President Richard Coon reviewed a number of hot topics that the association is focusing on at the moment.

Key among these is the reauthorization of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which provides duty-free treatment to products imported into the U.S. from more than two-thirds of the world’s countries. 

The expiration of the program at the end of 2010 is now causing a serious financial burden to American business, including the RV industry.  In particular, the cost of luan, the strong, lightweight wood from southeast Asia that is used extensively in RV manufacturing, has increased significantly.

“This is costing RV manufacturers thousands of dollars every day, and it needs to be resolved. We are working through a coalition of companies and organizations to urge Congress to retroactively extend the GSP as quickly as possible,” Coon said.

He also stressed that the National RV Trade Show remains an important event for the RVIA and the RV industry, sharing findings from a survey of RV dealer owners and principals about the show. 

“Ninety percent of those surveyed attend the show every year, and 75 percent support holding it in the same time frame,” Coon said. “Our plan is to continue hosting the show the week after Thanksgiving, but we will continue to assess the situation moving forward and look at ways that we can improve and enhance the show for attendees and exhibitors.”

State automotive franchise issues also continue to draw the association’s attention. “In some cases, the RV industry is drawn into legislation meant to apply to the business relationship between automotive manufacturers and automotive dealers, and being included in these laws is harmful to the RV industry,” Coon said.  As a result, RVIA continues to be active in migtigating car franchise provisions that are unfavorable for the RV industry.

In addition, Coon also told attendees that the association is in solid shape as the industry continues to recover from the economic downturn.  He noted that while membership has decreased by a third from 567 members in July 2007 to 380 members to date, the association is financially sound with $15.6 million forecasted to be in reserves by the end of the year.


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