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Boon Edam, located in Lillington, North Carolina, has been a leading manufacturer of revolving doors and turnstiles for over 100 years. The business is just one of many that rely greatly on exports to Colombia and Panama.
“Colombia is the biggest market of the two,” said Business Development Manager, Martin Noble. “We started receiving inquiries from customers in both countries, and given [their] economic growth and demand for our products, we have identified both countries as key growth markets for our exports to Latin America.”
Current sales to Caribbean and Latin American countries account for 10 percent of the company’s total exports. Of this amount, Colombia and Panama account for 10 to 15 percent of sales.
Once the pending trade agreement with Colombia is passed and implemented, small American companies will be well-equipped to compete with foreign regional competitors. At present, tariffs and other non-tariff barriers pose competitive challenges for U.S. small- and medium-sized exporters.
“The import duties have not helped us in many potential projects where we have lost to lower priced competitors from Colombia and neighboring countries such as Brazil,” Noble said.
At the Boon Edam plant, approximately 85 American workers produce high tech automatic entrances, pedestrian control products, and other access control solutions. Many families across the country see and use these products in hospitals, amusement parks, airports, stadiums, and office buildings.
The U.S.-Colombia trade agreement will help small- and medium-sized businesses like Boon Edam become more competitive in that valuable market. This will allow them to expand their businesses and support additional American jobs.
“We would definitely see an increase in sales as our products become more price competitive,” said Noble.
Furthermore, Boon Edam’s increased success due to trade could have positive ripple effects for both its suppliers and customers in industries like metal, electronics, glass, freight shipping, construction, architecture, and security services.
“The trade agreement would facilitate sales of our U.S. made products and help us reach our export growth goals,” Noble said. “Increased demand for our products will ensure jobs throughout the entire sales, manufacturing, and service cycles.”
The pending trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, as well as with South Korea, create opportunities for U.S. exporters to compete for more customers, which will support additional jobs here at home.