In September, Kansas Global team members Anne Dewvall and Omar Ismail joined the Kansas Chamber and the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. for the 2022 Kansas Congressional Fly In. We met with the Kansas legislative delegation and a number of national organizations and federal representatives to discuss issues and policies important to Kansas businesses.
Common themes ran through the event, with many businesses in different industries facing similar challenges. Workforce, inflation, supply chain congestion, housing, childcare, and immigration reform were some of the top issues surfaced during discussions, reflecting the interconnected nature of doing business in today’s global economy.
Although Kansas businesses face many challenges, opportunities are present as well. One notable opportunity is the CHIPS Act of 2022, which provides $52 billion in grants and an investment tax credit to increase American manufacturing of semiconductors and strengthen American supply chains.
Additionally, Kansas businesses can benefit from funding included in the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that aims to update infrastructure across the board, from plumbing to airports to roads to high-speed internet access and beyond. Several Kansas businesses present at the Fly-In had specific questions about this legislation and were using the provisions to benefit the Kansas economy.
The Fertilizer Production Expansion Program is another example of federal funding being used to stimulate growth and competition and reduce reliance on imports that are increasingly inconsistent due to global issues – in this case, largely due to the war in Ukraine.
Although these three programs are all examples of federal initiatives, they represent a trend toward reducing risk by making strategic investments in domestic production. Businesses were encouraged to examine their own supply chains and assess where they could make changes by finding new sources, redesigning products, or making other alterations to reduce negative impacts from disruptions.
On behalf of Kansas Global, Anne Dewvall had the privilege of moderating a panel on international trade with three experts in the field. Dale Tasharski (U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service), Dilawar Syed (U.S. State Department), and Michelle Bekkering (U.S. Global Leadership Coalition) elaborated on government initiatives to support international business growth but also made it clear that current issues like the war in Ukraine and supply chain woes will affect businesses for some time, encouraging businesses to adapt when possible and search for creative solutions. The panelists emphasized a trend toward conducting international business with “allies” when possible to reduce risk of disruption due to geopolitical instability. Finally, we discussed how American companies have opportunities to turn challenges into benefits. Examples include Kansas companies providing clean energy solutions, wheat and other agricultural exports, parts for the aviation industry, and digitalization services to other countries.
The 2022 Kansas Congressional Fly In was full of valuable meetings, discussion, and networking that gave attendees the chance to tune in to high level trends in government, have their concerns heard by legislators, and network with one another. We are proud to be part of this community of forward-thinking business leaders eager to solve problems and create new opportunities for Kansas.