Some U.S. companies may look at exporting as an afterthought, but that thinking is a mistake. Soon after we opened our doors at Rugged Liner/Truck Hero, we concentrated our focus on international business. International sales actually represent a significant portion of our business: 30 percent of our revenue. We export to over 70 countries, and about 35 jobs at Rugged Liner depend on that international business. Being a leader in the bedliner business means you have to explore what the other 95 percent of the consumers outside of the U.S. are purchasing. Ever since Rugged Liner/Truck Hero made a long-term commitment to go into international sales, we have seen rapid success and have grown considerably.
As a company doing business all around the world, each day presents new challenges, but Washington can help us in terms of free trade agreements. As an exporter, you have several tools in your toolbox, but for Rugged Liner/Truck Hero, the most important tools are free trade agreements (FTA). FTAs not only reduce the duties and the tariffs on our Made in U.S.A. products when they are exported, but they also give us an ease of doing business in other countries.
We need Washington to make the red tape disappear. The U.S. falls short in terms of free trade agreements. We only have 20 free trade agreement partners, and compared to our neighbors we're far behind. When work under a free trade agreement, doing business is incredibly easier, and the goods flow much faster. The Mexican market in particular is extremely important for Rugged Liner/Truck Hero, so we need Washington to focus on fine-tuning NAFTA to make it even better for American businesses, and the whole U.S. economy will experience the positive ripple effect. If the government opens up free trade agreements, exporters will do the rest of the job; we just need to Washington open up the door.