ST. PETERSBURG (09/03/2013) - World leaders meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia to discuss global trade aren't just getting the attention of economists and politicians.
The Daavlin Company in Bryan has a big stake in the talks.
"I'm very proud of our international business. I think it does a lot of good for the local economy," said David Swanson, president and CEO of Daavlin.
Swanson says his company trades with 71 countries. Some might surprise you -- like Libya, Iran, Israel, and Nigeria.
Swanson told 13ABC's Washington Bureau Chief Jacqueline Policastro that shipping overseas saved his business and allowed him to diversify economically.
"We just cruised right through the recession almost exclusively because of our international trade," explained Swanson.
Sandrine Wollace, Daavlin's vice-president of international operations, explained that in order to grow and hire more workers, the company needs President Obama to address trade barriers at the G20 summit.
Wollace points to issues with countries like Brazil, where in order to forge a trade agreement, the company has to agree to expensive factory inspections, visa fees, and duplicate testing.
"Sometimes it may cost you more to do all of that than it may bring you back in six months or a year of business. So you have to evaluate -- is it worth doing business in that country versus not doing business? I think that's stopping us from being able to export in any country in the world," said Wollace.
This is a team that isn't afraid to be honest about our nation's trade shortcomings. They say they just want trade to be fair.
"Sometimes I feel like we are chumps," said Swanson. "We are nice and don't want to make anybody mad, so we just let them get away with doing whatever they want to do. So I don't feel that this country has done a very good job standing up for our trade rights."
Daavlin employs 45 full-time, full-benefit workers who assemble products from start to finish at this small Ohio plant. But without the international business, Swanson admits he would have to lay off 15 people. Right now, he's trying to find new markets and new opportunities to expand, even though there are still barriers to trade.
"It is those barriers that are most difficult for a small company like ours," explained Swanson.
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