This year’s NCA Washington Forum will be held virtually due to COVID-19. Registration will open today, Monday, Aug. 17.

Historically, the event has offered National Confectionery Association members the chance to gather in Washington D.C. in September to meet with their members of Congress while learning about political and regulatory news. 

This year the event will be hosted virtually Sept. 14-Oct. 8 and renamed, “Washington Forum @ Home (WF@H). The platform will include a series of video conferences and digital programs in which the NCA shares political and regulatory news from lawmakers and industry experts. 

“With an election coming up, it’s more important than ever for our industry to connect with lawmakers and make our voices heard,” said John Downs, NCA president and CEO. “We want Washington Forum @ Home to give our industry the opportunity to come together and communicate with our lawmakers with one voice, even as we are separated physically due to the pandemic.”

The event is being promoted as “an important time to hear from lawmakers about the issues of greatest importance to your company and to our industry, including international trade disputes and retaliatory tariffs, COVID-19 response and recovery, U.S. sugar policy and more.”

Open to individuals from all NCA member companies, the NCA said space in each session is limited and participants will be assigned to events based on availability once they are registered.

The WF@H agenda includes an in-depth look at what’s happening in Washington and an update on high-priority issues being tracked by the confectionery industry.

“The Washington Forum has always provided our industry with an incredible opportunity to connect with lawmakers and share the powerful story of the confectionery industry,” said Liz Clark, NCA’s senior vice president of public policy. “Washington Forum @ Home will build on that experience and give our member companies the opportunity to learn and hear from lawmakers and Washington experts in a way fit for the times.”

On Sept. 14, Clark and other members of the NCA's Public Policy team will review ongoing advocacy efforts around tariffs and international trade, progress on the sugar program, CandyPAC activities, election forecasts and more. In addition, the team will explore issues related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including recent progress on liability protections for employers, the country’s response and the roadmap to post-pandemic economic recovery.

The program continues on Sept. 17 with Dr. Debra Miller, NCA senior v.p. of scientific and regulatory affairs, and other experts offering an overview of the confectionery regulatory landscape and sharing insights on developments relating to the 2020 to 2025 Dietary Guidelines, California’s Prop 65 and food labeling. As part of this session, an FDA representative will outline the New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint, which will guide the agency’s food safety regulatory activities.

The event will wrap up on Thursday, Oct. 8 with the WF@H Happy Hour, an opportunity to connect and catch up with confectionery industry leaders, the NCA team, speakers and other WF@H attendees for casual conversation and networking