September 28, 2018


NuStep Inc., based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, designs and manufactures recumbent cross trainers to make exercise possible for users who are unable to use regular exercise equipment due to injury, medical conditions, or other physical limitations. NuStep began to focus on exporting in 2009 when Dick Sarns, owner and CEO, decided that international expansion would be a good way to combat the decline in domestic sales brought about by the downturn in the economy. Since then, international sales have almost quadrupled, and exports today account for nearly 20 percent of unit sales. With exports accounting for nearly 20 percent of unit sales, approximately 20 of NuStep’s 100 employees owe their jobs to exports.

On trade agreements, Elena Stegemann, Director of International Business, says: “Our international sales are continuing to grow in all parts of the world, and today we do business in more than 25 countries. Asia is currently our largest export market. For NuStep, we are excited that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could eventually make it easier for us to comply with regulatory requirements in important markets such as Australia, Canada, Japan, and Singapore. Anything our government can do to help remove export barriers for U.S. manufacturers would be of great benefit for a small company like NuStep.”

On the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Stegemann says, “The EU is a major market for NuStep, and succeeding in these countries is particularly rewarding because entering the European Union was not easy. The TTIP is an opportunity to streamline regulatory compliance for U.S. exporters that will be of great benefit for a small company like NuStep.”

Stegemann has been an outspoken supporter of legislation to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which she explains is a precondition to new market-opening trade agreements with as the TPP and TTIP. It’s simple, she says: “TPA is vital because economic growth and job creation at home depend on our ability to sell American goods and services to the 95 percent of the world’s customers living outside the United States.

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