Volume 36, Issue 2,  February 2001



                            latest news developments

What the Bush Presidency Means to the Industry

George W. Bush’s recent inauguration signaled a change in administration with far-reaching implications for American governance. The new administration come changes for the glass industry as well. USGlass magazine asked experts, both inside Washington and out, what policies and programs of the new Bush administration they think will effect the glass industry.

Chief and most important among them is the expected repeal of the inheritance tax. The so-called “death tax” has been under fire by Republicans and businesses as being double-taxation. It is generally believed that there is enough support for its repeal or mitigation, and that Bush will push for such repeal from the outset of his term in office.

Reductions are also expected in the level of regulation at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), among others. “The biggest difference will be as ‘regulator in chief’ not on the legislative front,” said Jeffrey D. Shoaf, executive director for congressional relations with the Associated General Contractors. This should prove good news for the mirror and stained glass industries that have been particularly hard-hit by tightened environmental regulations these past few years.”

Initiatives such as the ENERGY STAR program and ratings programs for windows are expected to continue, but will not have as much growth in power as during the past eight years. “Barring a severe energy crisis, we probably won’t be quite as aggressive in our zeal for compliance with those programs,” said one incoming DOE administrator who preferred to remain anonymous.

Just the opposite is true in the foreign trade arena, where some major glass manufacturers have been frustrated by ineffective attempts by the Clinton administration to open up markets and reduce barriers to entry in Japan and other countries. The issue of “dumping” glass into the United States—particularly from Mexico and China—is also expected to be reviewed.

Mergers and acquisitions will have an easier time passing through the Ashcroft Justice Department’s Antitrust Division then they did under Janet Reno, making the climate for such mergers on a large scale even more inviting. And proponents of new technology, such as glass-plastic sidelites (see January-February AGRR magazine) are expected to gain a more sympathetic ear than they did during the past eight years.

If the past continues to be prolonged and Bush’s terms as governor are indicative of his priority, expect federal funding for infrastructure and transportation, including airports, to increase.

Saint-Gobain Unifies Operations Under One Name

Paris-based Compagnie de Saint-Gobain has formed a unified identity for its five affiliated companies, which share related products, markets and technologies in the fields of industrial and commercial reinforcement fabrics, such as glass, polyester and proprietary fibers. The new commercial organization, which joins Bayex, Bay Mills and PermaGlas-Mesh, all of North America; Tevesa of Spain and Vertex of the Czech Republic, will now be known as Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics (SGTF).

“The SGTF organization creates advantages for the affiliated companies and for our customers,” said Doug Mattscheck, president, Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics America.

German Banks aid Mexican Glassmakers
With many Mexican companies still facing financial difficulties due to last years 400 percent increase in natural gas prices in Mexico, several German banks have stepped up to lend a hand, by providing lines of credit to companies in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon.

“Mainly, the companies are in the glass industry,” said Fernando Canales Clariond, Nuevo Leon governor. “Specifically, one medium-sized firm called Vidriera Tepeyac, which exports its entire output and closed down for several months because of natural gas price highs, will be able to reopen with these loans,” he added.

According to Canales, German banks will provide a total of $10 million in loans for Nuevo Leon companies, to help finance production, prevent staff layoffs and in some cases, forestall plant closures.


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