5 Companies Earn Global Trade Awards, Proactive Approach Touted

5 Companies Earn Global Trade Awards, Proactive Approach Touted
Maggie Sans, senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer for Wal-Mart in China, speaks Wednesday at the 2017 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade Awards luncheon. (Sarah Campbell-Miller)

The Arkansas District Export Council recognized five winners of the 2017 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade at its annual awards luncheon Wednesday at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock.

The export winners are:

Large Manufacturer — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., which primarily produces passenger car and light vehicle replacement tires in North America. It has a location in Texarkana, but its corporate headquarters are in Findlay, Ohio. The company reported total revenue of $2.92 billion last year.

Medium Manufacturer — AK Industrial Contractors of Searcy,  which transports heavy equipment for companies that are moving.  

Small Manufacturer — Garreco Dental LLC of Heber Springs, which makes dental lab products.

Advanced Technologies and STEM Exporter — Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control of Camden, a designer, developer and manufacturer of aerospace and defense systems for the U.S. and allied militaries.

Rising Star — Lycus Ltd. LLC of El Dorado, which makes ultraviolet light absorbers for use in plastics, coatings, adhesives, polyester films, cosmetic product protection and other personal care applications.

Global trade and the growth it can give proactive businesses was the theme of the event. Maggie Sans, senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer for Wal-Mart in China, was the keynote speaker.

Sans began her address by quoting Maya Angelou, who said, "I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back."

Sans said, “In global trade, you want to be the catcher. You want to be in the place that allows you to do your own position well and anticipate the next play in order to win.”

Her advice for businesses was that they must understand how global trade can help them grow, and look into not only the challenges but the opportunities of being a player in it.

About Wal-Mart's experience with global trade, Sans said "Trade is not just good for our customers. It’s vital to our suppliers, many of whom are looking overseas to find new markets for their products. And we, nor any company, can be successful by wearing the catcher's mitt on both hands and waiting for the ball to come.”

She also said how and when to anticipate change and engage others as a business pursuing the benefits of global trade “is not simple. It’s not straightforward. And there’s usually not a right or wrong answer.”

For Wal-Mart, its entrance into global trade decades ago started with the company’s mission to serve its customers with high-quality goods at affordable prices, Sans said.

In other countries, especially China, foreign imports and U.S. made products are still in high demand, according to Sans. Foreign direct investment has become increasingly important, while high tariffs impede businesses and trade agreements need to be modernized, she said.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson also spoke at the luncheon. He told attendees about speaking to President Donald Trump and telling him how critical global trade is to the state.

The governor said the president responded, “Asa, don’t worry about it. We’ve got it under control.”

Hutchinson said. “And, of course, I left still worried about it, but it was good to have that opportunity to make the case for Arkansas. And he does. He has a tough trade policy.”

The governor also said he believes the administration understands now what global trade means to the state.