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Mississippi manufacturer betting on a weaker dollar

Wayne Wade, photo courtesy of MDA

By JACK WEATHERLY

Wayne Wade has concerns about continuing to do business in Vietnam.

But it’s not because President Donald Trump “vetoed” America’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact.

It’s the strong U.S. dollar, said Wade, president of Bio-Soil Enhancers Inc. of Hattiesburg.

Vietnam is the company’s biggest customer. The Southeast Asian country would be one of the remaining 11 nations in the proposed trade group.

“Our dollar has been way too strong too long” compared with other currencies, making U.S. products more expensive on the international market, Wade said in an interview.

But he feels that the strengthening of the U.S. economy will force the Fed to raise interest rates, causing the dollar to weaken.

» READ MORE: Gov. Bryant flips on trade pact since 2015

“We can balance the trade more that way,” Wade said.

Trump’s “business approach right now is where it should be,” Wade said.

Reducing the number of regulations to enhance the domestic economy and persuading manufacturers “to do business here has a huge psychological effect.”

“People have to believe that we’re going to do better … and I feel it and I see it.”

Some see Trump blocking U.S. membership in TPP as a move toward protectionism.

And while that may help the U.S. trade imbalance ($44.3 billion in December) by suppressing imports, the strong dollar could hurt exporters and boost imports, Alan Ruskin, a currency strategist at Deutsche Bank, was quoted as saying in the Financial Times.

Eighty percent of Bio-Soil’s business is overseas.

The company has about 30 employees and the payroll will continue to grow, Wade feels.

Revenue is growing at about 20 percent a year, he added.

Bio-Soil nearly went out of business after Hurricane Katrina destroyed its plant in 2005.

In rebuilding, it shifted its emphasis to making Sumagrow, which balances and stabilizes the fertility of soil.

Wade has high praise for the MDA. “Had we not gone international, I don’t think we’d be here today,” Wade said in a 2015 interview with the Mississippi Business Journal.

And if not for the MDA, it would not have gone international, he said in that interview.

“It’s just awesome. It cost us very little … and they vet your potential clients, they vet them very well. They set the meetings up, they provide the transportation, they provide the interpreters, they provide the security.”

About Jack Weatherly

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