Site Visit: Advocacy Staff Learns About Role of NAFTA during Visit with Owners of Concord Supply
By Lindsay Abate, Regulatory Economist
On March 19, the Office of Advocacy staff visited Concord Supply, Inc., a small manufacturing firm based in San Antonio, Texas. Owners Carolina and Victor Quinones, who founded the company in 1991 shortly after immigrating to the United States from Mexico, were kind enough to provide an overview of their business model and discuss the key regulatory and international trade issues facing their firm.
Concord Supply, which holds six patents and four pending patents, specializes in the manufacturing of advanced packaging technology for clients in the steel and aluminum industries, among others. Concord’s product line is extensive, but includes anti-corrosive packaging for steel products, lumber and construction laminates, moisture and vapor barriers, and oil field and fracking materials. While speaking with us, Mr. and Mrs. Quinones highlighted the important role that creativity, new ideas, customer responsiveness, and investment in innovation have played in the success of their business.
As a business that exports approximately 80 percent of its products, trade agreements have a significant impact on Concord Supply’s business model. According to Mr. and Mrs. Quinones, a large proportion of Concord’s exported products go to clients in Mexico, Canada, and Saudi Arabia, among others. The company’s business with Mexico is so significant that Concord employs 180 employees in the country, and supplies its products to 95 percent of Mexico’s steel mills. Concord also has a distinct advantage among domestic clients, as it is the only U.S.-based company that manufactures these unique steel coating and lamination products within the United States. Concord’s owners believe that this is a strong selling point for their business, along with the fact that all of Concord’s materials are fully recyclable.
When asked about the impact that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has had on their business, the Quinones emphasized that innovation is the best way to compete with other companies and foreign countries. They noted that, on the whole, NAFTA has been beneficial to their business and has been integral to Concord’s consistent expansion over the last three decades. Mr. and Mrs. Quinones suggested that NAFTA should be evaluated to ensure it is fair and effective for American businesses. They also cautioned that the uncertainty surrounding NAFTA renegotiation is causing some anxiety among current and potential clients in the NAFTA zone. Certainty around NAFTA, they argued, is critical for allowing them to build client relationships and plan for future investments, including the opening of a new manufacturing plant in the Midwest United States. Overall, however, the Quinones’s maintained that innovation is the best recipe for success. They are confident that Concord’s record of strong customer service and investment in new technologies will help them compete in a changing economy, domestically and internationally.
Advocacy was in San Antonio and Houston, Texas for Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable and NAFTA Modernization Outreach Meetings on March 19-20.
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Lindsay Abate is a Regulatory Economist for Advocacy. Abate can be reached at Lindsay.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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