U.S. Senator Max Baucus is on a tour of Montana with ambassadors from around the world, leading up to his Economic Development Summit next week. On Friday, he brought his tour to Missoula, where they visited manufacturing companies, including Sun Mountain Sports.
The company has beaten the tough economy, employing more than 200 Montanan's, and selling its products across the globe. Baucus said that's the reason he led Ambassadors from China, Germany, Japan, Peru, and Canada on a tour of the golf equipment manufacturer's warehouse.
"The more I can bring people from other countries, Ambassadors, to Montana and see all the great people we have, the ideas, the entrepreneur spirit we have, the more likely it is we can put Montana companies together in our state and create more jobs," Senator Baucus said.
Sun Mountain imports some of the components used to make its golf bags from China.
"They realized they can do better bringing in just the basic bags, and then they finished them up and embroider them here, and that's greatly expanded their business," Baucus said.
Sun Mountain's CEO Rick Reimers said taking their products internationally has kept their business successful, and created jobs.
"The golf business in the U.S. is stagnant, but the international growth is terrific," Reimers said.
Ordinarily Sun Mountain would pay a 7% duty on the parts it imports from China. But under a bill Baucus helped pass in Congress called the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, the duty Sun Mountain pays is reduced to just 1.5 %, saving Sun Mountain money it can use to reinvest in it's business and hire workers.
"Anything that affects sales negatively, affects everyone who works at Sun Mountain," Reimers said. "The Senators office has been terrifically effective in helping us with those problems."
That legislation, the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill expired in 2012. Baucus is working to get it renewed this year. The Ambassadors tour ends in Butte at the Sixth Annual Economic Development Summit.
The summit kicks off Monday, and goes through Tuesday.