TPP in Real Life: TPP Levels Playing Field for Leading U.S. Restroom Accessory Manufacturer

If you’ve ever washed your hands or changed your child’s diaper in a public restroom, it’s likely you’ve encountered goods crafted in America by Bobrick Washroom Equipment Inc. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., since its founding in 1906, Bobrick is the world’s leading manufacturer of restroom accessories for commercial building owners, and the company markets its products under the Bobrick, Gamco and Koala Kare brands. It manufactures products in California, Colorado, New York, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Bobrick Headquarters in Los Angeles, California. Photo Courtesy: Bobrick

Bobrick headquarters in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo courtesy of Bobrick.

While selling extensively throughout the United States, Bobrick has been able to grow by expanding its global focus. Bobrick exports restroom accessories to more than 100 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America, including all Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries, and has operations in the United Kingdom, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Australia.

According to Alan Gettelman, Bobrick’s vice president of external affairs, “Free trade agreements have lowered many of the tariff and non-tariff barriers that Bobrick has faced overseas, allowing us to improve access to these markets and increase our competitiveness. The elimination of all manufacturing tariffs under the TPP would level the playing field for our company’s exports to these countries, allowing us to boost sales of products crafted throughout the United States.”

Bobrick SureFlo Automatic Soap Dispenser. Photo Courtesy: Bobrick

Bobrick SureFlo automatic soap dispenser. Photo courtesy of Bobrick.

To illustrate the importance of the TPP for Bobrick, consider the company’s SureFlo automatic soap dispensers, which are manufactured at its Los Angeles, Calif., facility. Imports of soap dispensers currently face duties of 24 percent in Vietnam, 5 percent in Malaysia and 5 percent in New Zealand.

As another example, Bobrick’s grab bars are manufactured in Clifton Park, N.Y., and face import duties of 20 percent in Vietnam, 5 percent in Malaysia and 5 percent in New Zealand.

And consider Bobrick’s Koala Kare brand baby-changing stations and child-seating products, which are manufactured in Denver, Colo., and face import duties of 25 percent in Vietnam and 5 percent in New Zealand.

Finally, take Bobrick’s restroom mirrors, which are manufactured in Jackson, Tenn., and Durant, Okla., and currently face duties of 34 percent in Vietnam, 30 percent in Malaysia and 5 percent in New Zealand.

Bobrick Koala Kare Baby Changing Station. Photo Courtesy: Bobrick

Bobrick Koala Kare baby-changing station. Photo courtesy of Bobrick.

All of these tariffs, and thousands of others, will be eliminated on U.S.-manufactured goods exports when the TPP is fully implemented. Bobrick will be able to see substantial savings immediately on many of its exports to these markets, and most of the duties facing its exports will be eliminated within four years of the TPP’s entry into force.

The TPP will also eliminate other discriminatory barriers faced by Bobrick and other manufacturers in TPP countries and will improve Bobrick’s ability to export through more transparent and streamlined customs rules. All in all, the TPP will help level the playing field for Bobrick and other manufacturers across the United States, helping U.S. manufacturing increase sales and support jobs right here at home.

Read more “TPP in Real Life” stories by clicking here.

Ken Monahan

Ken Monahan

Director for International Trade Policy at National Association of Manufacturers
Ken Monahan is the Director for International Trade Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), where he works with NAM member companies to develop and advocate the association’s positions and priorities on trade agreement negotiations, ensure enforcement of existing trade agreement commitments, and other issues including the World Trade Organization (WTO), miscellaneous tariff bills, data flows and privacy, conflict minerals, forced localization, and other bilateral country trade matters (e.g., Colombia, South Korea, and the European Union and its member states). Mr. Monahan has on-the-ground experience negotiating trade agreements, having worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce on the WTO Doha Round negotiations, the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement and other international trade matters.
Ken Monahan

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