WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that Hilliard’s Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS) — a central Ohio pipe manufacturer that employs more than 700 Ohioans — will be able to continue to sell to Mexico for another three years. Earlier this year, Mexican authorities granted a one-year certificate to ADS after initially blocking sales by the Ohio company due to an illegal technical standard. Today’s decisions will extend the certificate for three years in accordance with Mexican law and ensure stable access for ADS to the Mexican market.

“The backbone of Ohio’s economy is our manufacturing sector, but in order for it to thrive, our businesses need an equal playing field in the international market,” Brown said. “That is why Mexico’s decision is a positive step for both ADS and Ohio’s workers. This three year extension will allow ADS to expand its business, create local jobs, and contribute more to our state’s economy.”

“I am pleased that Mexico has decided to do the right thing and allow ADS to export their high-quality goods to Mexican consumers,” said Portman. “It is critical that our international trading partners play by the rules and open their markets to American products. In the past four years, I have toured factories all over our state—and whichever factory floor I have been on, I have seen the exports story with my own eyes. Today, twenty-five percent of Ohio manufacturing jobs are dependent upon exports. Exports are good for Ohio, and they are good for Ohio workers.”

Based in Hilliard and employing more than 700 workers, ADS is the world’s largest producer of corrugated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes used for drainage and sewage systems. Though ADS had an established presence in Mexico, in 2011 the Mexican government illegally shut out American producers by arbitrarily imposing a technical standard that would bar the use of all HDPE pipes. Since then ADS has worked with Senators Brown and Portman to called on the Obama Administration to ensure Mexico’s trade obligations are followed and that U.S. companies treated fairly. 

In November 2011, Brown and Portman, along with U.S. Reps. Pat Tiberi (OH-12) and Steve Stivers (OH-15), called on the Obama Administration to demand Mexico abide by international trade obligations. In a letter to Ambassador Ron Kirk, the Ohio delegation asked the U.S. Trade Representative to work with the Mexican government to comply with its legal obligations with World Trade Organization (WTO) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In June 2012, Brown and Portman called on the U.S. Trade Representative to utilize the newly created Interagency Trade Enforcement Center and stand up for ADS. This request highlighted concerns regarding Mexico’s use of technical regulations and standards to restrict trade in violation of Mexico’s obligations under the WTO and NAFTA. Brown and Portman also raised the issue with Ambassador Michael Froman, the U.S. Trade Representative, in his confirmation hearing in the Senate Finance Committee.

ADS three-year certification in accordance with Mexican law is a significant success for the company and ensures stability for workers in Central Ohio.  Senators Brown and Portman appreciate the efforts of the U.S. Trade Representative, as well as the government of Mexico to ensure that trade obligations are honored and that the export markets in Mexico remain open for ADS and all American manufacturers.