There has been a lot of debate about the benefits of trade to America in recent weeks. Allow me an opportunity to introduce some facts on why it is so important to our company, our workers and our community.

P&G sells products in more than 180 countries and territories, with manufacturing sites spread throughout the U.S. and international markets in a strategy we call “close to the consumer.” We own and operate 24 manufacturing sites located in 18 U.S. states and territories, as well as nearly 100 manufacturing sites in foreign countries. Here in Auburn, I am proud that we employ more than 400 people, and P&G has been here for more than 19 years (at a factory that has operated for a total of 48 years).

Although we only export a small portion of the Tampax brands manufactured here in Maine, commerce and trade is part of P&G’s corporate DNA. About 60 percent of P&G’s sales come from the company’s international operations, but our growth outside the U.S., where 95 percent of the world’s consumers live, doesn’t come at the expense of U.S. workers. In fact, one in five of P&G’s U.S.-based jobs support our international business. These high-paying U.S. jobs are in areas such as manufacturing, marketing, innovation and supply chain management. So when P&G succeeds in international markets, it means we succeed here at home, too.

In recent years, trade agreements have helped to eliminate or reduce trade barriers globally — tariffs, quotas and unnecessary bureaucracy at the borders. P&G benefits from these agreements because they have allowed us to create efficient, reliable supply chains that have expanded our access to markets around the world.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is critical to our company’s competitiveness because it addresses 21st century issues such as e-commerce, cross-border data flows, strong labor and environmental standards and unnecessary regulatory differences. In addition, TPP will serve as the first U.S. trade agreement with five of the member countries, including Japan, the world’s third largest economy, as well as Vietnam and Malaysia, two of P&G’s fast-growing emerging markets. The agreement will also upgrade our trading relations with long-time partners, such as Canada and Mexico.

These provisions, as well as the chapters on customs administration, intellectual property rights, and small- and medium-sized businesses, complement our company’s future business growth in all of the TPP member countries as online and non-traditional distribution models and sales channels rapidly expand.

We believe the TPP agreement will not only benefit our current and future operations in member countries, but it lays the groundwork for American companies to enjoy similar benefits in countries that subsequently join this trade agreement by spreading the common regulatory and legal foundations on which U.S. and WTO trade agreements are based. Importantly, our suppliers, many of whom are small- and medium-sized companies, will also enjoy the benefits of the TPP agreement.

As Members of Congress debate whether or not to pass the TPP agreement in coming months, it is important to remember that economic growth and jobs in our community depend on foreign markets as well as local ones, and high standard trade agreements are the best way to ensure open access to other markets. Support for trade agreements is support for American companies and workers. They are the real beneficiaries of expanded trade, including P&G and our more than 400 employees in Maine.

Rick Malinowski, a native of Gardiner, is human resources manager for P&G’s only North American feminine care plant, located in Auburn.

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