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Business Leaders on Trade Promotion Authority

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Following the introduction of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation in the Senate, senior executives from small- and medium-sized companies across the country highlighted the importance of international trade to their businesses. In particular, several business leaders emphasized that new trade agreements could provide stronger IP protection, eliminate non-tariff barriers, and reduce regulatory risk.

Through TPA, Congress outlines the priorities and objectives for international trade agreements and agrees to an up-or-down vote on a defined timeline without amendment. TPA legislation also requires the Administration to continue keeping members of Congress regularly updated on the progress of negotiations.

Below is a sample of quotes from Business Forward's nationwide network of business leaders. If you would like to speak with one of them about international trade policy, please contact Rachel Harvey at RHarvey@BusinessFWD.org or 202-470-1318.

Arizona

"Without exporting, our business couldn't exist," said Wendy Jameson, the Founder and CEO of Colnatec in Gilbert, Ariz. "But we face significant challenges to trading abroad—from state owned enterprises to weak intellectual property protections. Trade agreements would tackle these challenges and make sure the world plays by our rules, not China's. When it's China's rules, American companies lose."

"When our company began production in 2005, we had one employee," said Ray Zuckerman, the CEO of ServerLIFT Corporation in Phoenix, Arizona. "Thanks in large part to our ability to expand internationally; we now employ 25 and are growing. Strengthening international trade ensures American businesses like ours can compete in the global economy, building for a stronger tomorrow while insuring long-term prosperity."

"Trade agreements are essential to helping Phoenix businesses export their services, which will in turn boost our economy significantly," said Karen Dickinson, Chair of the Arizona District Export Council. "We must seize this opportunity or risk getting left behind."

California

"It is time to modernize trade rules to reflect today's global economy and deliver greater opportunities for small businesses to thrive. Congress can do so through passage of TPA and completion of pending U.S. free trade agreements with Europe and Pacific Rim nations," said Roy Paulson, President of Paulson Manufacturing Corporation in Temecula, Calif. and Chair of the National District Export Council.

"At WD-40 Co., business is booming, but we face unnecessary challenges selling American-made products in foreign markets," said Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40 Company in San Diego. "Washington should help companies like ours do business smarter, not harder."

"Small businesses that export perform better and contribute more to the economy than those that don't," said Kimberly Benson, the Vice President of Cange International in San Diego. "Yet because of budget and resource constraints only five percent of small businesses are currently exporting. The current trade agreements would significantly help small businesses export by leveling the playing field, making it faster, cheaper and easier to access new markets."

"As a business owner, passing TPA is a no-brainer," said Sabrina Moyle, the Co-Founder and CEO of Hello!Lucky in San Francisco. "Anything that lowers barriers to selling our products overseas is good for business, good for my employees, and good for my local economy. Increasing U.S. exports will make for a more economically vibrant country."

"Our clients regularly confront the twin challenges of international trade—market access, and the very different regulatory maze each country imposes on imported goods," said Susan Kohn Ross, Chair of the District Expert Council of Southern California and a partner at Mitchell Silberberg and Knupp in Los Angeles. "Without Trade Promotion Authority, the U.S. is severely handicapped from negotiating trade agreements which open up markets and level playing fields for American companies, large and small."

"Trade supports 4.7 million jobs in our state and trade-related jobs pay higher wages," said Daveed Waithaka, the CEO and President of the California Exporting Group in Sacramento. "The increased trade from trade agreements like TPP would help the Capital Region be even more prosperous, and make it easier for our business to export to Japan – an important market for agriculture exports."

"As the official tourism authority for Los Angeles, our primary mission is increasing visitation to our destination – from both domestic and international markets. This mission has significant economic impact for LA. As we know that free trade agreements positively impact the volume of international visitors participating in U.S. trade shows and conventions, we believe that international trade is a critical factor not only for Los Angeles, but for our peer DMO's around the country," stated President and CEO for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Ernest Wooden Jr.

Connecticut

"As a consumer product manufacturer in the United States, our intellectual property and brand is the essence of our business. Exporting American products like ours is challenging, because we currently have little to no recourse if our IP is stolen," said Beverlee Dacey, the President of Amodex Products in Bridgeport, Connecticut. "The proposed trade agreements would make it easier to enforce copyrights and trademarks on my family's stain removal products. We need to stay ahead of the next wave of protectionism, by empowering our leadership with strong trade agreements that provide a level playing field in foreign trade for American companies."

Florida

"The domestic solar market is unpredictable, so selling to other countries helps us hedge our bets and diversify revenue streams," said Andrew East, the Executive Vice President of AET Solar in Green Cove Springs, Florida. "But right now, we live in a fragmented and challenging global marketplace. These trade agreements will help create a true global marketplace where innovative companies can thrive."

"As Allied Steel Buildings works around the globe—64 countries—we find ourselves in competition with global competitors backed by newly minted free trade agreements, said Michael Lassner, President of Allied Steel Buildings in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "It's critical that our government act swiftly to enable U.S. companies to remain globally competitive."

Illinois

"Every time we do business in a new country, we must meet new standards, costing us valuable time and resources. If a pump isn't going to explode in Chicago, it isn't going to explode in Cordoba," said Craig Shields, President and Chief Engineer of the Graymills Corporation in Chicago. "TPA will pave the way for trade agreements that would streamline standards, making trading abroad easier and more efficient. Our business, and the people we employ, depends on those trade agreements passing."

"My family business sells fire pumps, fire trucks and emergency response equipment to over 100 countries every year," said Ryan Darley, International Sales Manager of W.S. Darley & Co. in Itasca, Ill. "Trade agreements help us operate on a level playing field in certain countries where tariffs and other trade barriers would otherwise make selling very difficult. Additional trade agreements would do great things for my business and for the U.S. economy."

"While my company primarily sells specialty chemical products domestically now, I see tremendous potential for international expansion in the future," said Andrew Neal, President of STRYTECH Group Inc. in Northbrook, Ill. "Trade Promotion Authority and subsequent trade agreements would allow companies like mine to reach new markets and help create jobs at home."

Maryland

"As a business development specialist, I spend every day helping my clients expand to new markets, particularly in Africa. TPA offers opportunities for every U.S. business—large and small—to be part of a national team effort toward growing and sustaining a vibrant United States," J. Wendell Addy, Director of Maz-Amtech LLC in College Park, Maryland. "Right now, it's hard for businesses to do work abroad, but TPA will help clear the path for trade agreements that will create sustainable jobs and set international standards for fair and transparent trade practices."

Minnesota

"For my company and the packing machinery industry, exports are key to both maintaining our competitive position and serving our food and beverage clients, many of whom have international operations," said Dale Andersen, the President and CEO of Delkor Systems, Inc. in St. Paul, MN. "The recent change in the valuation of the dollar is going to make Delkor's export opportunities considerably more challenging in 2015. We compete with many European manufacturers in places such as Mexico, Canada and South America. One big advantage that the European manufacturers have is a variety of governmental support programs to assist them with their export business. Given the more competitive landscape, this is an excellent time for the U.S. government to find ways to support small- and medium-sized manufacturers exports."

Missouri

"Exporting our expertise overseas increases the number of customers who have access to American products. Increases in the demand for our services and Made-in-America energy products translate to increase in revenue and consequently our capacity to create new jobs." said Ike Nwabuonwu, Chairman and CEO of Alpha Energy and Electric, Inc in Kansas City, Mo. "I hope that Congress will approve Trade Promotion Authority, the most important trade legislation in years. The survival of our company depends on it."

Nevada

"My company helps other small- and medium-sized companies import and export their goods more efficiently and economically. I see every day how trade agreements make a difference. For example, without agreements, duties can be quiet excessive and sometimes my clients will simply step away from the idea of exporting their goods at all, especially to European and Asian countries. If they opt to still export their goods, they will certainly move less volume," said Kim Daniels, President of Mercantile Logistics & International Trade, Inc. in Henderson, Nev. "With both TPP and T-TIP, businesses would be more apt to export their goods, knowing that they are going to be able to compete in the economic environment of the receiving country."

North Carolina

"International trade plays a vital role in the ongoing successes of SEWW Energy's ability to provide lifesaving energy and healthcare infrastructure solutions to our clients. The reauthorization of Trade Promotion Authority will help us benefit from the ongoing trade negotiations by circumventing trade barriers that often make exporting a daunting endeavor for small businesses. SEWW Energy welcomes trade and investment agreements that are fair, transparent, and accountable, in an effort create a level playing field for small- and medium-sized companies," said Kevon Makell, CEO of SEWW Energy in Charlotte, N.C. "The opening of new markets for American products and services will help ensure SEWW Energy and other small businesses, whose revenues increasingly derive from our ability to export our products and services, can compete with foreign competitors on the international markets."

Pennsylvania

"My company, Thompson Mahogany Co. has been in the import business and has been creating good jobs for Philadelphians since 1843," said Andrew Nuffer, the General Manager at Thompson Mahogany Co. in Philadelphia. "But right now, we need trade agreements to ensure not only that we can continue to import the finest hardwood lumber, but also so that the cost of doing so isn't prohibitive. Without TPA, the chances of completing any new trade agreements plummet. So to get more trade, we need to pass TPA."

Texas

"International distribution is a critical part of my company's strategy, but we currently face challenges with selling our beverage dispensers abroad. For example, different countries have different certification standards that are burdensome to comply with," said Luis Alvarez, President and CEO of Lancer Corp. in San Antonio. "Fortunately Trade Promotion Authority, and the trade agreements it will support, will remove a number of barriers for companies like mine. This will allow us to create more jobs at home."

"International growth options are incredibly important for a small business like ours that's looking to broaden its reach. As the manufacturers of high quality skin care products, we have found there is a demand for our American made goods in international markets," said Michele Beckley, Vice President of Merlot Skin Care in El Paso, Tex. "These trade agreements play a vital role in helping to pave the road for expansion, not only abroad, but in the U.S. as we bring on more key team members to help execute on our expanding operations."

"Our company exports products to more than 25 countries around the world," said David Ickert, the Vice President of Finance at Air Tractor, Inc. in Olney, Texas. "Our global reach has been critical to our successful growth. We need trade agreements that will help more companies like ours sell abroad and create more jobs at home."

"The current trade agreements do not adequately address cross border data flow issues, IP ownership and internet governance issues. The global economy is rapidly becoming a digital and information-enabled economy. It is very important that the United States participate in and lead trade agreements that deal with issues related to data flow and governance," said Chowdary Yanamadala, Senior Vice President of CHAOLOGIX in Dallas. "As a provider of proprietary data-security IP to customers globally, we are impacted directly by the trade policies in this area and we think that there is more work that needs to be done immediately. I hope TPA legislation is passed swiftly, thereby enabling the United States to maintain its leadership in the global economy."

"As a health benefit administrator, our business depends on the small business community," said Jose Carlos Gonzalez, Principal, Gonzalez & Asociados in Houston. "Trade Promotion Authority will allow the U.S. to write the rules of trade to improve our manufacturing and service jobs. If more manufacturing is done right here in Texas as opposed to China, that will be good not only for small businesses, but also for the economy at large."

"As a dentist a strong economy means economic success to many other businesses," said Francisco P. Ramos a dentist in San Antonio. "I want to encourage our legislators to pass and understand the significance the TPA proposal."

Virginia

"Doing business internationally is important to my company's growth. I have experienced firsthand how state-owned enterprises from other countries threaten to put our company out of business," said Dr. Amanda Sozer, the Founder and President of SNA International in Alexandria, Va. "Passing TPA is critical to finalizing trade agreements that would help American businesses compete on a level playing field internationally."

"My company has a vested interest in the approval of Trade Promotion Authority and the establishment of free trade agreements. These agreements provide both protection and opportunity to export our services to businesses world-wide," said George Judd, Director of Cask, LLC in Stafford, Va. "In the twenty-first century, we must do business with those who we share common interests with, if not always common values. Those common interests include sharing best practices, increased management and economic transparency, and support for improved standards of living through technology and infrastructure investments."

"Trade agreements that open up new export and import markets necessitate enhanced security for the global flow of commerce. For Decision Sciences, these new markets present business and deployment opportunities for our Multi-Mode Passive Detection Systems," said Dr. Gene Ray, CEO of Decision Sciences International Corporation in Middleburg, Va.

Wisconsin

"International trade made it possible for our customer base to grow, creating jobs here in the United States that would not have existed otherwise," said Kyle Weatherly, the President of Solaris in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. "Congress must pass TPA so more American companies can expand and create more jobs at home."

Washington

"Every product we sell overseas helps us hire more Washington-state workers and pay them competitive wages," said Anil Amlani, the Senior Vice President of Global Sales at FUJIFILM SonoSite, Inc. in Puget Sound, Washington. "We need Washington to improve international trade policies so that we can continue to reach healthcare providers and patients all over the world. TPA, and the international trade it would facilitate, could create more opportunities for our business and many other Puget Sound businesses, both big and small. This is a win-win."

About Business Forward

With the help of more than 50 of the world's most respected companies, Business Forward is making it easier for tens of thousands of business leaders from across America to advise Washington on how to create jobs and accelerate our economy. Business Forward is active in more than 100 cities and works with more than 450 senior Administration officials, Members of Congress, governors, and mayors.

To date, the organization has also brought more than 3,000 business leaders to the White House to brief the President's economic advisors. Business leaders who have participated in these briefings have seen their suggestions implemented in the Affordable Care Act, the Jobs Act, three trade agreements, and every one of the President's budgets. Many have also shared their recommendations with their representatives in Congress and through op-eds and interviews with local media. Ninety-eight out of 100 business leaders who have participated in a Business Forward briefing would be interested in participating in another one. For more information please visit www.BusinessFWD.org.

CONTACT: Rachel Harvey RHarvey@BusinessFWD.org 202-470-1318

Source: Business Forward

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