Small Business Finds Its Voice on Free Trade

Bloomberg Business

Ross Bernard started American Nettings & Fabric in the early 1980s and now employs six people in Ferndale, a small town in Washington state that’s a 15-minute drive from the Canadian border. Bernard is a Canadian citizen, but he set up his business in the U.S. so he could exploit its 14 free-trade agreements. He expects 80 percent of his $3 million in sales this year to go abroad, much of it to Latin American fruit growers who use his plastic netting to protect their produce from hungry birds. American Nettings’ only other office is in Peru, which in 2006 inked an agreement with the U.S. that scrapped the 15 percent tariff the South American country once levied on U.S. imports. Says Bernard: “Our customers follow these free-trade deals.”