Historic visit shines light on need to support small and medium-sized US manufacturers
America’s most trusted crib mattress company, Colgate Mattress, welcomed trade negotiators from 12 Trans Pacific nations and the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) during a recent tour of its family-owned factory. Atlanta (GA) Mayor Kasim Reed, who hosted the event and chairs USCM’s Transportation and Communications Committee, was joined by United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman, Little Rock (AR) Mayor Mark Stodola, Chair of the Conference’s Exports and Ports Task Force, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Columbia (SC) Mayor Steven Benjamin. The visit was part of negotiations to complete a Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which passed this week.
A Tour of the Factory
“We were honored to offer an up-close and personal factory experience to such a prestigious group. The buzz in the factory was incredible,” said Alan Wolkin, president of Colgate. “Handcrafting crib mattresses is a lost art, so we hope this gives our industry the exposure it deserves.”
During the tour, Mayor Reed closed a crib mattress with the help of a Colgate employee.
What TPP Means to Small Businesses
“Through TPP and our other trade agreements, we want to make it more possible to open markets and support good jobs,” said Ambassador Froman. “TPP is the first trade agreement ever to have a particular focus on small and medium-sized businesses, to make sure TPP is working for companies like Colgate.”
According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative,
- During the last five years, U.S. exports have hit record highs, reaching $2.34 trillion in 2014, up roughly 50% since 2009.
- Over 300,000 American companies export goods, 98% of which are small- and medium-sized businesses;
- Exports of goods and services supported 11.7 million jobs in the United States in 2014; income.
“Expanding our distribution internationally can not only increase our need for additional employees, but also the volume of raw goods sourced here in the U.S.,” said Colgate Mattress President Alan Wolkin. “This includes key components such as metal coils, foams and cover materials. If this policy is structured right—with businesses like Colgate in mind—our entire ecosystem of crib mattress manufacturing could benefit over the long haul.”
The story was featured on many major news channels in Atlanta – including this segment on CBS46.