Association continues to promote industry policy positions through meetings, fund raisers and other activities
(NEW YORK) – Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, has ramped up advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. Recent activities include meetings with Congressional leaders to support the jewelry industry’s recommendations to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its proposed changes to the Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries. The association also held a dinner to celebrate its work in legislative affairs in April, and is planning a two-day fly-in to D.C. in June – its sixth annual advocacy trip to Capitol Hill with a delegation of jewelers.
On Thursday, April 14, JA’s D.C.-based legislative counsel, Haake Fetzer, organized several meetings for JA President & CEO David J. Bonaparte with representatives on House and Senate Committees that oversee the FTC. Bonaparte met with Rep. John Shimkus, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; and key staff from the office of Sen. Jerry Moran, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Consumer Protection and Product Safety Subcommittee.
Bonaparte’s meetings focused on the FTC’s proposal to allow synthetic diamond producers to use the term “cultured” to describe synthetic diamonds, as long as qualifying language (for example “laboratory-created,” “laboratory-grown,” “synthetic”) immediately accompanies the term. JA’s position is that use of the term “cultured” is confusing, since consumers believe the word “cultured” means or implies “natural.”
“Use of the word ‘cultured’ in conjunction with a manufactured diamond is deceptive,” Bonaparte says. “It implies that synthetic diamonds are created in a natural environment, similar to cultured pearls.”
JA’s position and the meetings reinforce the stance taken by an industry coalition – led by the Jewelers Vigilance Committee – that is gathering important research and sharing industry input with the FTC. JA is actively involved in the coalition.
In addition to meetings on Capitol Hill, JA recently held an event for its members titled, “Wine, Whiskey and Washington,” at Top of the Town in Arlington, VA, celebrating the association’s ongoing advocacy efforts. The event featured a dynamic presentation from one of the top political journalists covering this year’s elections and raised funds for JAPAC, the Jewelers of America Political Action Committee.
In June, JA will once again bring a group of JA executives, JA & JAPAC Board Directors – representing a variety of jewelry businesses – to Washington, D.C. During the sixth annual fly-in, June 14 and 15, the jewelers will have in-person meetings with influential leadership in the House and Senate.
“Jewelers of America’s work advocating on Capitol Hill on behalf of our members and the jewelry industry is critical to the future of our industry, whether it’s supporting measures that will help jewelers, or fighting to block laws that can hurt them,” says Bonaparte.
JAPAC Chair Jenny Caro, owner of Jewelry By Design in Woodbridge, VA, says a lot is at stake for jewelers in the 2016 elections, with battles on issues like sales tax fairness, protection of the LIFO (last in, first out) accounting method and the possibility of tax reform on the horizon. “Decisions these lawmakers make will have a huge impact on our businesses and on our industry, today and long into the future,” she says.
For more information about the legislative and regulatory issues Jewelers of America is tracking – including sales tax fairness – visit JA’s Advocacy Center at www.jewelers.org.