Trade Agreements Offer Benefits for U.S. Employers and Employees

Global trade brings benefits to American workers and consumers.

The following op-ed was authored by Tom Linebarger, Chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc. and Chair of the Business Roundtable International Engagement Committee; and Mike Bertsche, the President & CEO of Camcraft.

After years of negotiations, the 12-nation trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership is facing its toughest challenge yet: election-year politics.

The fact is, TPP and U.S. trade agreements overall, offer tremendous benefits for U.S. employers and employees alike. Consider a few numbers: trade-related jobs grew 3.1 times faster than overall employment between 2004 and 2014, and nearly half of all U.S. goods exports to the world in 2014 went to just the 20 countries that the United States has free trade agreements with.

Unfortunately, the facts are being distorted by rhetoric on the presidential campaign trail, with candidates alleging that U.S. trade agreements like NAFTA have suppressed wages and cost American jobs. In fact, U.S. trade with NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico supports nearly 14 million U.S. jobs, according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study.

Moreover, contrary to the campaign rhetoric, U.S. jobs tied to trade also pay more than other jobs. According to a report by the Commerce Department, manufacturing jobs pay 18% more on average when tied to exports. The report also notes that foreign tariffs — like those TPP will eliminate — reduce the earnings of U.S. workers by as much as 12%.

We have to put politics aside and recognize TPP as an opportunity to support U.S. economic growth and high-quality American jobs.

The agreement will create opportunities to sell more U.S. goods and services to 11 Asia-Pacific countries. This region is already critical to America’s exports: TPP nations accounted for some 45% of all U.S. exported goods in 2014.

All told, TPP will eliminate more than 18,000 foreign tariffs on U.S. goods, opening markets to U.S. export growth. And because five TPP countries currently lack trade agreements with the United States, the deal will also open entirely new markets for American firms.

Just as important, the trade pact will put in place strong, enforceable rules for fair trade that actually improve on NAFTA and other past U.S. trade agreements. TPP is the first modern trade agreement that addresses the realities of our interconnected global marketplace. For example, it will establish intellectual property protections for American companies and inventors and raise foreign labor and environmental standards. It also will discourage other countries from using government procurement and state-owned companies to put American firms and workers at a disadvantage.

In short, TPP will open access to millions of customers for U.S. goods and services while boosting foreign investment throughout the United States. The resulting U.S. exports and international investment here will expand U.S. economic growth and jobs.

Watch Now: How The TPP Will Benefit The U.S. Economy


To understand how trade supports companies of all sizes, consider the relationship between our two companies. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, Cummins’ 25,000 U.S. employees design, manufacture and distribute engines and related products that are powered by diesel and natural gas. In 2014, we exported approximately $3 billion in U.S.-made products.

These foreign sales don’t just benefit Cummins and its U.S. employees; they also help our 2,500 domestic suppliers, such as Camcraft. Camcraft is a small company based in Illinois. Its 330 employees manufacture high-precision components used in Cummins engines.

As leaders of manufacturing companies large and small, we know how important trade and U.S. trade agreements like TPP are to the success of our companies and to businesses and farms across the United States.

The relationship between our two companies shows how exports ripple through the U.S. economy in a supply chain generating billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs.

Previous U.S. trade pacts offer evidence: America’s current trade partners purchase 13 times as many U.S. goods per capita than countries with which we don’t have trade agreements. Those purchases support U.S. jobs.

When Congress takes up TPP, members should look beyond the divisive campaign rhetoric and seize the opportunity to support growth and jobs in their home states. By approving TPP this year, Congress will enable American workers, businesses and farmers to sell more in international markets — reaping the benefits before our foreign competitors do.

Editor's Note: The op-ed above also appeared in the following publications

The Indianapolis StarTrans-Pacific Partnership is good for U.S. workers

The New York Daily NewsTPP is good for American manufacturers and the people they employ

The Post and Courier - Election Rhetoric Sells Trade Agreements Short

Tom Linebarger Chairman and CEO

Tom Linebarger

Tom Linebarger became Chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc., the largest independent maker of diesel engines and related products in the world, on January 1, 2012.  Prior to becoming Chairman and CEO, he served as President and COO from 2008 to 2011, Executive Vice President and President, Power Generation Business from 2003 to 2008, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 2000 to 2003, and Vice President, Supply Chain Management from 1998 to 2000.

5 Ways Cummins is Addressing Global Climate Concerns

Cummins employees research ways to improve the company's engines at the  Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A.).
Cummins employees research ways to improve the company's engines at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A.).

There’s been a lot in the news lately about climate concerns now that the United Nations’ annual conference on the topic is underway in Katowice, Poland. Here’s five ways Cummins is working to address these concerns:

1)    Improving diesel technology.

Cummins engineers constantly work to improve diesel engine technology. The X15 Efficiency Series engine, for example, gets up to a 20 percent increase in

X15 engine
X15 engine

fuel economy in large commercial trucks compared to the company’s 2012 engines. That translates into a direct savings in greenhouse gas emissions, which are key to climate concerns. It also produces far fewer harmful pollutants when paired with the latest in the company’s exhaust after-treatment systems. Cummins wants to offer a broad portfolio of clean products that also provide customers with economic advantages. That’s why the company is also investing in electrification, natural gas and other technology.

2)    Promoting tough, clear and enforceable regulations.

The company is making the case around the world that tough, clear and enforceable regulations can improve the environment and promote economic growth. Meeting higher standards can encourage the development of new technologies that in turn can drive prosperity. Cummins has consistently supported higher standards in countries such as India and China as well as Europe and the United States, sharing its expertise and experience with government regulators.

3)    Developing new power platforms.

Cummins is working quickly to develop new power platforms, establishing the company’s new Electrified Power business and exploring energy sources such as hydrogen. The company was already a leader in ultra-low emission natural gas engines as well as hybrid engines.

Purolator test truck
Cummins has been working with the Canadian package delivery company Purolator to test an electrified powertrain in one of its trucks.

The Electrified Power business, established in 2017, has pledged to have an all-electric powertrain on the market for urban buses sometime in 2019.

4)    Working with customers on products in use.

The company is working with its customers to help them operate Cummins’ products as

efficiently and with the least environmental impact possible. Cummins’ fuel economy teams throughout the world, for example, have implemented more than 250 products in-use improvement projects since 2014, achieving an annualized rate reduction of 3.4 million metric tons of CO2 toward the company’s goal of a 3.5 million annual rate reduction by 2020. The project is not only reducing the use of fossil fuel but helping customers save money.

5)    Encouraging low-carbon forms of energy.

Cummins’ support is helping a northwest Indiana windfarm expand.
Cummins’ support is helping a northwest Indiana windfarm expand.

As part of its energy goal, Cummins has pledged to promote the development of low-carbon forms of energy. The company announced in 2018 an agreement enabling a northwest Indiana windfarm to expand. The power generated by Cummins’ support will go to the grid – not Cummins. But the amount of electricity annually will be just over what Cummins uses at its facilities across Indiana.

These five examples don’t include Cummins' efforts to save energy and material through the remanufacturing of engines and parts, or the company’s initiatives to reduce energy use and boost recycling at Cummins’ facilities. The company believes environmental sustainability is critical to maintaining and enhancing prosperity around the world. That’s why it’s a key part of Cummins' mission to make people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world.


blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]


Four Answers to Your Questions about Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology

N'yu'ti hydrogen bus
N’yu'ti, a hydrogen-powered demonstration bus, can travel more than 200 miles on 38 kilograms of compressed hydrogen

Cummins has joined other industry partners to research how hydrogen fuel cells can power commercial vehicle applications, recognizing that this technology is likely to play a role in the broad portfolio of power solutions Cummins will provide to its customers in the future.

The demonstration project is a transit bus, called N’yu'ti, that can travel more than 200 miles on 38 kilograms of compressed hydrogen in partnership with Ad Astra Costa Rica and others. With limited petroleum resources, Costa Rica is working to develop hydrogen as a power source. That makes it a good place for this research. 

N'y'uti hydrogen-powered bus
To date, N'yu'ti - a hydrogen fuel cell-powered bus - has transported a variety of passengers, from the general public to foreign dignitaries. 

National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day is celebrated on October 8 (10.08) in the United States, in recognition of the atomic weight of hydrogen - 1.008. Earlier this year, Cummins joined the Hydrogen Council, a global coalition exploring and promoting hydrogen as a clean energy source to help meet the world’s climate challenges.

Here are the answers to four key questions you may have about hydrogen fuel cell technology:

Q. How does hydrogen fuel cell technology work?

Fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen without combustion, creating zero-emissions. Hydrogen gas is passed through a fuel cell stack where the pure hydrogen mixes with atmospheric oxygen to generate electricity, which is used to create electric power.

Q. What markets are hydrogen fuel cells viable in today? 

Several major automakers offer fuel cell vehicles on a limited basis and fuel cell buses are in service in several states. There are thousands of fuel cell-powered forklifts working around the clock in America’s warehouses and factories, and fuel cells are powering some data centers, communications networks, retails sites, and municipal facilities across the country.  

Q. What is the state of infrastructure to support hydrogen electric vehicles?

Hydrogen still faces technical challenges regarding its production, transportation and distribution, but many in the industry are working to address these issues and to scale up the availability of the technology. A growing network of dozens of hydrogen fueling stations are open for business in California and currently under development in other states in the U.S. More hydrogen infrastructure is needed to support fuel cell electric vehicle commercialization and job growth. 

Q. What’s new with N’yu'ti?

N’yu'ti continues to show hydrogen fuel cells may be viable in commercial vehicles in the future. "This bus is evidence that shows the world that we can strive to be better, to be cleaner. It also reminds the world to not just stop at what works or what is comfortable, but to push further, to find new and better solutions," said Dr. Franklin Chang Diaz, Chairman of Ad Astra.

"In this year, N’yu’ti has transported a variety of passengers. From the general public to foreign dignitaries, to the president of Costa Rica and his cabinet. N’yu’ti has brought many positive things to Costa Rica, and therefore, we would like to continue bringing more buses and developing the infrastructure to provide for a robust hydrogen economy," he continued. 

katie zarich author bio photo

Katie Zarich

Katie Zarich is Manager of External Communications for Cummins Inc. She joined the Company in 2015 after more than a decade working in government and the nonprofit sector. [email protected]

Four Reasons Clean Diesel is in Cummins’ Toolbox to Meet Climate Goals

Cummins' X15 Efficiency Series diesel engine has won praise for its fuel economy and ultra low emissions.
Cummins' X15 Efficiency Series diesel engine has won praise for its fuel economy and ultra low emissions.

Many companies are pursuing electrification as a potential answer to the world’s climate goals, including Cummins. But that doesn’t mean diesel, specifically clean diesel, can’t play an important role, too. 

Here are four reasons clean diesel technology is part of Cummins’ broad portfolio of products designed to help customers meet their environmental sustainability goals:


The Diesel Technology Forum  (DTF), a group dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel, defines clean diesel  as the combination of today’s ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, advanced engines and effective emissions controls.

Together, these elements result in a highly efficient, virtually smoke-free engine, which can achieve near zero emissions and reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs).Clean diesel technology evolved around the year 2000 and has made a significant difference in air quality. Independent studies show it would take 60 18-wheel trucks produced today to equal the emissions of just one 18-wheeler built before 1988.

Yes, clean diesel uses petroleum-based fuel, but the technology is much more efficient than gasoline engines and much cleaner than pre-2000 diesel engines. According to the DTF, you can find a growing number of new-technology diesels in use today. More than a third of the trucks on U.S. roads are powered by the newest, cleanest, most efficient diesel technology, the group says.

Photo from the Jamestown Engine Plant
Cummins’ Jamestown Engine Plant in Jamestown, New York (USA) has produced more than 2 million engines since the company acquired it in 1974.


Cummins and other companies are working hard to make electrified powertrains available for all kinds of trucks as soon as possible. Cummins has pledged to get an all-electric powertrain on the market for urban buses by the end of 2019. 

But it’s going to take time to develop electrified options for the full range of on- and off-highway engines. Products have to be developed. Factories built. Employees trained and supply chains established. 

While great progress is being made in reducing the size and cost of batteries, there’s still a way to go in many markets  Clean diesel is ready now. The plants are built and the supply chains established. Cummins’ Jamestown Engine Plant in Jamestown, New York (USA), recently passed the 2 million-engine milestone. You gain a lot of expertise after building that many engines.


Diesel fuel and service is widely available. According to the DTF , 55 percent of retail fuel locations in the U.S. offer diesel fuel, and various truck stop directories list between 6,500 and 7,000 locations across North America – many offering diesel fuel and service. Three out of four commercial vehicles are powered by a diesel engine and almost 99 percent of large Class 8 trucks come with a diesel engine. So finding fuel and service is not a problem.

By comparison, electrification infrastructure is just starting to develop. Plug-ins can occasionally be found for cars in urban areas, and some U.S. cities are experimenting with electric cars for hire. But a lot more has to be built before the majority of buses and delivery trucks go electric, and even more before electric 18-wheelers can travel coast to coast in large numbers. Europe is closer, but even there it’s going to take time.

One of the reasons Cummins is focusing first on electrification efforts for urban buses is the company believes that’s where the infrastructure will develop first. 

A Cunmmins' QSK95 engine is installed in the Siemens' Charger locomotive
Cummins’ ultra-low emissions QSK95 engine is prepared for lowering into one of Siemen’s Charger Locomotives.


Return on investment is a key question as the debate begins in the U.S. over how best to use a $2.9 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust, part of the VW settlement, to improve air quality. Some argue these funds can best be used to help build the infrastructure for electrification.

The DTF, however, maintains the fastest and most cost-effective gains can be made by strategically replacing older and larger diesel engines in locations with the greatest potential for air quality gains. Through a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund, DTF found that upgrading just one of the oldest, dirtiest tug boats in an urban area would be like taking tens of thousands of passenger vehicles off the road each year. And it says repowering an old railroad switch engine with clean diesel technology can remove the same amount of nitrous oxides (NOx) for about half the cost of other options.

Cummins believes every customer’s situation is just a little bit different. For example, a transit system that has access to a supply of renewable natural gas like the Los Angeles County, California (USA) transit system might choose to use that as a fuel. LA's transit system is using Cummins Westport’s near zero natural gas engines to help power its fleet, essentially taking advantage of a naturally occurring waste product to reduce its use of fossil fuels.

As the only independent engine maker building natural gas, electric and clean diesel engines, Cummins wants to help its customers make the right decision for them. Cummins believes the environment is too important to remove any tool that might make a difference. 


blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]


Three Ways Cummins Can Help Communities in Search of Clean Air

AEOS, Cummins' all electric concept truck, is unveiled to the public in 2017. It is helping Cummins study the use of electrification in larger trucks.
AEOS, Cummins' all electric concept truck, is unveiled to the public in 2017. It is helping Cummins study the use of electrification in larger trucks.

Many government officials in the U.S. are looking for ways to best use the $2.9 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust included in the VW settlement to help improve air quality in their states and communities. There’s a lot to think about to get the most out of the settlement fund.

With its broad product portfolio, Cummins is uniquely positioned to help public officials figure out what’s best for their states and communities, taking into account their unique circumstances. The fund can be used to repower or replace vehicles, address shore power for ports, build out electric vehicle charging stations or expand other emissions reduction programs.

Here’s a quick look at how Cummins can help:

Charger locomotive
The low-emissions Siemens’ Charger locomotive, powered by a Cummins QSK95 engine, undergoes testing before being put into service in 2017.


Nobody knows the benefits of clean diesel engines like Cummins. The company makes diesel engines of all sizes and types, which is critically important to making a good decision. The Diesel Technology Forum, a non-profit group dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, says replacing a few large, older diesel engines with the latest diesel technology can have a much bigger impact on air quality than replacing a lot of smaller engines.

Removing one older locomotive switch engine, for example, and replacing it with a modern, clean diesel engine removes about the same amount of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a key contributor to smog, as replacing the engines in 29 older delivery trucks or taking 30,000 car off the road for a year.

Cummins’ massive QSK95 engine is winning praise for the low-emissions power it’s bringing to Siemens’ new Charger locomotives, now in service in passenger trains from Florida to Washington state. The company’s new X15 engine, meanwhile, is among the cleanest the company has ever built, powering everything from heavy duty trucks to a variety of off-highway equipment. And those are just two of the diesel engines Cummins makes with the latest technology to ensure low emissions.

AEOS concept truck
A lot has happened in Cummins' electrification efforts since AEOS was unveiled in August of 2017, including several acquisitions designed to help the company innovate for its customers.


Cummins' new Electrified Power business is quickly getting up to speed, but you’d expect that from a company that has been working with electrified power in various forms like diesel-electric engines for more than a decade. Cummins has pledged to have an all-electric powertrain for the urban bus market by 2019, and off-highway applications following at a later date.

The company thinks electrified power makes the most sense in cities where it believes the infrastructure will develop first for tasks like charging batteries. Technology is changing quickly. Batteries are coming down in price and able to store more power. But it will still be a while before it make sense to go all-electric for heavy loads transported over long distances.

Cummins has taken several steps to ensure it will be the market leader in electrification in the years to come. Most recently the company purchased Silicon Valley-based Efficient Drivetrains, Inc., a U.S. company that designs and produces hybrid and fully-electric power solutions for commercial markets. Within the past nine months, Cummins also acquired U.K.-based Johnson Matthey, an automotive battery business, and North American-based Brammo, which designs and develops battery packs for mobile and stationary applications.

A truck  at Fair Oaks Farms
Trucks from the Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana use natural gas to deliver milk across the midwestern United States. The tankers run on renewable natural gas made by processing manure from the farms' dairy cows.


While electrification and clean diesel each have their advantages, it’s hard to beat the environmental benefits achieved when renewable natural gas is used with the latest Cummins Westport technology to achieve near-zero emissions.

Renewable natural gas can be hard to find, but Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana has plenty. The dairy has been capturing the methane produced by its more than 30,000 cows for some time now. The milk generated by Fair Oaks is delivered to dairies around the Midwest using Cummins Westport natural gas engines and renewable natural gas generated by the farm.

Cummins Westport last year introduced natural gas engines that can achieve emissions levels 90 percent below Environmental Protection Agency standards for NOx. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is pairing these new engines with renewable natural gas from a vendor who collects it from landfills and treatment sources in California. The combination will make the system’s buses among the cleanest of any major city in the world.


Boats, trains or trucks. Clean diesel, electrification or natural gas. Cummins has the expertise to help government officials make the best decision for their particular circumstances. To learn more, check out the company's new website devoted to the trust fund.




blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]


Redirecting to

The information you are looking for is on

We are launching that site for you now.

Thank you.