The Central American Free Trade Agreement will enable Kimberly-Clark Corp. to offer new products and open new markets in the region, Robert Abernathy, Kimberly-Clark’s group president for developing and emerging markets, told GlobalAtlanta last week.

But he added that the company’s expansion efforts will primarily be focused on the “BRICIT” countries including Brazil, Russia, India, China, Indonesia and Turkey.

The Cafta agreement was approved by a vote of 217-215 in the U.S. House of Representatives last week following its June 30 approval by the Senate. The legislation now goes to the president for his signature.

“We think that it will make a significant contribution,” Mr. Abernathy said following a ceremony at the DeKalb County distribution center of the nonprofit MedShare International. “Our strategy is to expand our operations in developing countries so we will be even more involved in the region.”

MedShare collects and recycles surplus medical supplies and equipment for distribution to needy healthcare institutions in economically developing countries. Last week, Kimberly-Clark contributed $250,000 for equipment bound to hospitals in El Salvador, Honduras and Peru.

Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissues, sells its products in more than 150 countries. It recently said that it will be cutting its workforce and closing factories primarily in Europe and North America while expanding operations in the developing world.

Mr. Abernathy pointed specifically to the BRICIT countries because “they have 50 percent of the world’s population and account for only 3 percent of our sales.”

He said that the company’s strong presence in Australia would help it increase its sales in Indonesia as its presence in South Korea would help it expand into China. Similarly, its presence in Israel would help it expand into Turkey.

To learn more about Kimberly-Clark’s operations, go to