Last week, the U.S. Chamber launched “Faces of Trade,” a media campaign aimed at highlighting entrepreneurs and companies whose success depends on U.S. trade. These businesses are from all over the nation and cross many different industries. Over the coming weeks, each will offer their testimony on what impacts them the greatest and how trade plays an integral part in their success.
Here’s the second story from Dr. Albert Green and Kent Displays, Inc. in Kent, Ohio:
“Kent Displays makes a line of eWriter products under our Boogie Board® label, which is our most famous brand. We provide writing tools for every writer, including products for professionals and products for educational use. We sell to over 30 countries, with North America and Canada being our largest markets and China being our fastest-growing country on market. From the very beginning, we found markets in Asia and Japan in particular to be very important and strong partners that enabled us to grow. Then from there, we migrated to a number of other countries such as South Korea, Thailand, Philippines, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Australia.
“There are a lot of advantages to doing international business which is really what drove us to focus on exporting. For a company like ours, roughly 35% of our business and revenue is from exporting abroad so it would be beneficial for us if Washington would keep the conversation around trade open and inclusive so that foreign companies want to do business with us – this will help our profits. It is important to remember that most of our customers are not in the United States, they are global.
“As a U.S. manufacturer that profits from exporting, we need policies from Washington that further the interests of our international business and relationships with foreign partners and customers. At the end of the day, trade is important, and we need to be able to export our products with lower barriers. We make our writing products right here in Kent, Ohio with 90 employees. More than 75 percent of jobs are due to our global presence. When our business grows because of trade, more people get hired, and there are more jobs.”
“We look at Free Trade Agreements like NAFTA as being critically important for our ability to bring our products to market overseas. We believe in free trade and think free trade agreements as helping open new markets and support our growth by reducing tariffs and making our products more affordable.”