AKRON-U.S. manufacturers have never been in a better position to increase their sales through export, according to General Tire President Alan Ockene. ``Those (manufacturers) that are on the leading edge of design and quality must concentrate on productivity to take advantage of a favorable exchange rate and lower import tariffs around the world,'' he said.
Speaking to the Greater Akron Tire Equipment Manufacturers Association in Akron Sept. 19-at a meeting kicking off the group's second trade show for representatives of tire companies from around the world-Mr. Ockene noted that the ``global village'' is here.
``We must think of selling our products abroad so as to have the quality and cost to meet the toughest competition.''
Eight months into the North American Free Trade Agreement, concerns voiced by those against the pact have yet to materialize, he said.
``Trade is up, prices are down for consumers and no massive layoffs have occurred,'' he said, adding, ``We have yet to hear Ross Perot's giant sucking sound'' of U.S. jobs going to Mexico.
For the first half of this year, U.S. exports within North America have grown 12 percent compared with 5 percent to the rest of the world, he said.
The freeing up of trade, Mr. Ockene explained, helps developing nations in two ways: Lower priced import goods favor consumers, while increased competition forces industry to modernize.