Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger testified last week before the U.S. Congress to talk about how much the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — and trade in general — has helped the company to thrive.

Linebarger told the House Ways and Means Committee that international trade has been the single most important contributor to the company's growth and hiring for nearly two decades, according to The Indianapolis Star.

The news outlet pointed out that while President Donald Trump has moved on with his campaign threat to dismantle NAFTA, Columbus, Indiana, where Cummins is based, is the most export-reliant metro area in the country, according to a recent study. Columbus is also the home of Vice President Mike Pence.

Linebarger explained to the Committee that Cummins exports about US$ 2.5 billion in products annually — and Canada and Mexico are the two largest buyers.

One reason foreign sales are so important to the company, he said, is that Cummins needs more customers than are in the U.S. to make back the significant investments required for research and development.

“To me, it’s simple," Linebarger testified. "When we can trade, we add jobs and invest in American communities”. “Terminating NAFTA,” he said, “would have a very, very detrimental effect”.

Cummins, a global company with headquarters in Columbus that makes diesel engines and power systems, had net sales of US$ 17.5 billion in 2016. The company operates manufacturing sites in Ciudad Juarez and San Luis Potosi.

You can read the complete report by The Indianapolis Star here.

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