Senators Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., a senior member of the committee, introduced legislation today aimed at increasing small business exports. The Go Global Act of 2012 will require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide resources, information, education and technical assistance to small businesses to enhance exporting strategies.
“There are business opportunities throughout the world for companies that export their goods, services and ideas, and it shouldn’t be only large companies that take advantage,” Sen. Landrieu said. “It is telling that while small businesses account for nearly one-third of the value of U.S. exports, only one percent of small businesses actually export. The Go Global Act will help provide small businesses with the resources they need to expand their markets overseas and help to create jobs here at home.”
“Exporting is a tremendous opportunity for small businesses to grow their companies, and the federal government can play an important role in helping small businesses take advantage of foreign markets,” Sen. Shaheen said. “This bill encourages the government to take more steps to help small businesses benefit from access to new markets.”
The bill enables the SBA to hire an additional 20 export finance specialists beyond the minimum number required by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-240), to ensure that the export financing and counseling needs of the small business are fully met. It also provides the SBA with the ability to assign specialists to areas of most need.
The Go Global Act seeks to improve interagency coordination by requiring the SBA to develop a program to cross train export finance specialists and other employees of the Office of International Trade, on export finance and business counseling programs offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It also requires the SBA to identify and publish a list of SBA lenders located in rural areas, as well as those lenders that also participate in the loan programs offered by USDA. Additionally, the bill requires the SBA to publish a listing of rural small business counseling and technical assistance resources.
The bill requires the SBA to develop an annual small business export strategy to be included in the National Export Strategy, that contains: (1) overall recommendations for improving export opportunities for small businesses; (2) recommendations for expanding small business opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region; (3) recommendations for increasing the global competitiveness of industries with a high percentage of small businesses; (4) recommendations for better protecting small businesses from unfair trade practices, and; (5) recommendations for increasing small businesses representation and input in the formulation of U.S. trade and export policy.
The Go Global Act of 2012 also includes the following provisions:
- Registry of export management and export trading companies--Requiring the SBA to establish a program to register export management and export trading companies and to publish a listing of those companies that specialize in assisting small businesses on the SBA’s website.
- Reverse trade missions--Encouraging the SBA and its resource partners to more actively participate in reverse trade missions hosted or sponsored by the U.S. government.
- Export expansion incentive program--Allowing the SBA to temporarily waive fees on export or international trade, export working capital, or export express loans made through the 7(a) loan program, if a small business utilizing the loan is exporting for the first time or if a business is located in an area designated as having been adversely affected by a free trade agreement. The authority for this program expires on September 30, 2016.
- Increased small business representation of Federal advisory panels--Expressing the sense of the Congress that all federal advisory panels, boards, and councils advising TPCC member agencies on U.S. trade and export policy, should maintain a membership ratio reflective of the percentage of exporters that are considered to be small businesses.
- Promotion of interagency details-- Expressing the sense of the Congress that the SBA should periodically detail staff to other TPCC member agencies to facilitate the cross-training of agency personnel on the programs and best practices of other agencies involved in export promotion, helping to strengthen interagency coordination efforts.