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issue: January 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

Association Forecasts - Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM)
2004 Industry Forecast

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By Joseph M. McGuire, president, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM)

The home appliance industry and its primary trade association, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) will be moving into 2004 with great momentum. After several years of strong industry shipments, increased participation, and activity within our organization, including the expected merger of the Vacuum Cleaner Manufacturers Association (VCMA) into AHAM, we will remain energized and focused on our mission: to serve a growing industry.

AHAM begins 2004 with a holiday season safety campaign in partnership with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and with the endorsement of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Our message to consumers is to take particular caution while cooking during the holiday season. Cooking fires continue to be the leading cause of house fires, and sadly, more than 75 percent of cooking fires are the result of unattended cooking. Stove tops should never be left unattended when food is being prepared.

The basics on how to prevent and extinguish fires are contained in a brochure developed by AHAM. The message is reinforced through a video news release, which has been used throughout the U.S. by many television stations. CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton and National Association of State Fire Marshals President Jim Burns emphasize the safety reminders for those preparing meals on their range.

This year, AHAM will build on these important relationships with CPSC and UL through several cooperative research efforts to make sure that we are doing everything we can to address the technology issues related to safety in ranges, clothes dryers, and other appliances. This effort is designed to make sure that when product safety standards are reexamined for their relevance, that decisions are made based on sound science and data.

Safety standards are, of course, a global issue, and AHAM will be working with all of the regional and global standards bodies this year on the continuing process of updating product safety standards. This includes addressing new technology issues as well as harmonization efforts. AHAM will continue working with the safety standards writing bodies in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico through CANENA to harmonize refrigerator-freezer safety standards. AHAM's leadership in the international standards arena was solidified in October, when AHAM hosted the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) performance working groups for home appliances in Washington, DC, U.S. This group pulled together more than 17 countries to discuss international performance standards for appliances.

We expect a healthy dose of legislative activity this year at the federal and state levels. Our first priority is to gain final enactment of the Energy Policy Act, which fell two votes short in the Senate late last year. This bill would have provided significant incentives for the production of highly efficient appliances and also addressed new energy efficiency issues in appliances such as standby power. California is already looking into these issues.

The states are also beginning to address product recycling, which is already being addressed in Europe. The product recycling issue is one in particular where appliance suppliers can partner with manufacturers to find technical and policy solutions. AHAM has established a special member task force to guide our activities in this issue, and we will be working very closely with the Canadian Appliance Manufacturers Association (CAMA).

The integration of VCMA into AHAM is an exciting prospect for 2004. Manufacturers of floor care appliances have already established a strong mission portfolio for the coming year, from a comprehensive market statistics program to advocacy and intelligence gathering on a host of technical and policy issues. AHAM will collect floor care appliance shipment, value, and characteristics information for both the U.S. and Canada. AHAM also hopes to increase membership in its Supplier Division this year as a result of our vibrant new Floor Care Division.

A busy year for sure. Check in with AHAM on our progress and for regular updates on these issues at www.aham.org.

Happy New Year!


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