On Tuesday, Secretary Penny Pritzker visited Portland, Oregon and Takoma, Washington where she held roundtable discussions on the importance of trade to our economy with key area business leaders.
Secretary Pritzker started the day with a tour and visit to General Plastics, in Takoma, Washington, a leading manufacturer of plastic-based goods. During the tour she heard from local business leaders about their experiences exporting to foreign markets and some of the challenges they currently are facing. During the roundtable discussion with local businesses, Secretary Pritzker noted how trade and exports benefit American manufacturers, such as General Plastics.
Later in the day, Secretary Pritzker visited the headquarters of Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. a leading manufacturer of multi-use tools in Portland, Oregon. Leatherman currently employs 500 Oregonians and exports their products to over 100 countries around the world. During the roundtable discussion, Secretary Pritzker highlighted how the current trade deals being negotiated will strengthen U.S. exports, manufacturing, and improve American competitiveness in the global economy. Local business leaders from Intel, Columbia Sportswear and Columbia Green also participated in the discussion.
At the roundtable the executives talked about the importance of free trade agreements to the success of their businesses and highlighted the many ways their companies are innovating to compete in the global economy. They emphasized that American companies must enter foreign markets on fair terms. However, many countries impose numerous barriers that make it hard for manufacturers like Leatherman Tools to reach those consumers. For example, a Leatherman multi-purpose tool made in Oregon currently faces tariffs as high as 25 percent in Malaysia, while other hand tools from other countries face much lower tariffs. Through trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, those barriers would be removed and allow American companies to compete more effectively in the global marketplace.
During both of her tours and discussions, Secretary Pritzker made the point that from Washington, D.C., to Takoma, to Portland, the entire Administration is sending the message that new trade agreements are essential to ensuring fairness for our businesses, to upholding our values worldwide, and to advancing our global economic leadership.