Even as Washington’s attention careens from one fiscal showdown to the next—which is reasonable with $85 billion in spending cuts due to go into effect in just a few days coming on the heels of December’s Fiscal Cliff–many manufacturers also await what could be an avalanche of regulations to implement the infamous Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act that could prove to bury these derivatives end-users in excessive costs and regulatory burdens to “fix” aspects of the financial crisis that they neither caused nor contributed to.

For the past two and a half years since the passage of this voluminous statute, a number of unintended consequences of the 850 page statute have come to light as derivatives end-users—who use derivatives as a way to manage commercial risk and NOT for speculative purposes—come to recognize how their day to day business practice might be caught up in a slew of regulations from an array of regulators. These rulemakings have the potential to undo best practices, efficiencies and risk management strategies to improve business functions.

To combat this, for the past several years the NAM has served as a steering committee member of the Coalition for Derivatives End-Users working with a coalition of business associations and hundreds of end-user companies to mitigate the impact on end-users of Dodd-Frank’s implementation. The NAM drove an effort during the lame duck Congressional session to seek passage of two bills critical to manufacturers that use derivatives to manage risk.  The effort has served as a springboard for the Coalition’s activity this year.

Already this year, the Coalition has met with the staff, the Chairman of the CFTC as well as several of the Commissioners seeking relief from two of the most time sensitive concerns facing end-users including: the upcoming deadline of April 10th when, without no-action relief from the CFTC, end-users will need to begin reporting their inter-affiliate trades to a swap data repository within 48 hours of the trade; and, a June 10th deadline financial institutions are required to begin clearing trades – a deadline that will impact end-users who use centralized hedging centers to centralize inter-affiliate trades and use that hedging center to conduct external trades unless the CFTC provides exemptive relief to these centralized hedging units of non-financial end-users. The Coalition is working this week to submit requests for these relief actions to the CFTC.

Simultaneously, we continue our legislative effort and already this year the two priority end-user bills – one providing a clear end-user exemption from margin requirements and one exempting inter-affiliate trades from being treated in the same manner as external, market facing trades and rectifying the centralized hedging center issue described above. Those bills, H.R. 634 and H.R. 677, were introduced earlier this month in the House by bipartisan groups of members of both the House Agriculture and House Financial Services Committees–and we hope there will be companion legislation introduced in the Senate in the near term.

The NAM continues to lead both legislative and regulatory solutions to address the challenges facing end-users. Company participation in these efforts is critical to make the case for action and the NAM will continue to coordinate opportunities for members to weigh in on these matters.

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