Visit highlights importance of National Export Initiative and pending Korea Free Trade Agreement
The Pipe Line Development Co. (PLIDCO), a Cleveland-based, second-generation family-owned manufacturer of pipeline repair and maintenance fittings, hosted Commerce Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing Peter Perez for a factory tour and discussion about the National Export Initiative (NEI) and the benefits of the pending Korea Trade Agreement. The NEI, which aims to double exports by the end of 2014 to support several million U.S. jobs, is important to small companies such as PLIDCO, which employs approximately 100 workers in Cleveland.
“Companies like PLIDCO are examples of why passage of the Korea Trade Agreement is critical,” Perez said. “Making markets like Korea more accessible to quality manufactured products, top-notch services and agricultural products will go a long way to providing stable opportunities in communities across America.”
PLIDCO, which has supplied pipeline repair fittings to gas and oil companies in Korea, currently faces tariffs of up to 8% on its exports to the country. These tariffs would be eliminated immediately once the agreement goes into effect.
“The importance of free trade to PLIDCO is immeasurable,” said Kim Smith, marketing manager. “We export 74% of our production to multiple countries and agreements like this, if not approved, will negatively impact U.S. jobs. The European Union and South Korea already have an agreement that will become effective in July 2011, which places U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage.”
The U.S. – Korea Trade Agreement will help facilitate small- and medium-sized exports by eliminating tariffs, reducing non-tariff barriers to trade, opening up Korea’s service markets, creating strong transparency obligations and promoting strong protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights by Korea, and improving and speeding up customs administration.
Small and medium-sized exporters accounted for 60% or more of all companies exporting to Korea in every goods sector in 2008. They accounted for $11.2 billion or 35% or more of total goods exports to Korea in 14 sectors.