WASHINGTON – United States Senators Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today commented on a report citing that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) export less than European SMEs. The U.S. International Trade Commission’s (USITC) second report on the topic, “Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: U.S. and EU Export Activities, and Barriers and Opportunities Experienced by U.S. Firms,” showed that in 2005, European SMEs exported approximately $250 billion more than U.S. SMEs. The report identifies insufficient access to financing, complex regulations, and rising transportation costs as the largest roadblocks for U.S. small and medium-size enterprises.

“America’s economy loses out on billions of dollars each year because small businesses are unable to capitalize on foreign markets,” Senator Landrieu said. “Less than 1 percent of our nation's 27 million small businesses export, while small and medium businesses account for almost 40 percent of European export sales. To keep American small businesses competitive in the global economy and to continue to promote job creation and business growth, we must work to reform existing trade programs to support small businesses. This report stresses the importance of the Small Business Job Creation Act and the trade initiatives we have included.”

“The U.S. International Trade Commission’s report demonstrates a significant barrier to economic recovery – namely, the lack of exporting by American small businesses,” Senator Snowe said. “Simply put, millions of small firms must have access to overseas markets in order to thrive and grow our economy, and they must have the tools and resources to acquire the skills necessary to engage with foreign partners. As such, it is critical that we act swiftly to pass legislation I introduced with Chair Landrieu to boost small business exporting and place us squarely on the road to doubling American exports within five years.”

To bolster our economy and assist small businesses, Senators Snowe and Landrieu introduced the Small Business Export Enhancement and International Trade Act (S. 2862) last December. This bill would improve access to trade loans and counseling programs for small exporters and inter-agency coordination of existing federal export assistance resources. These provisions form part of the Small Business Job Creation Act that is currently being debated in the Senate.

To view more information on the trade initiatives in the Small Business Job Creation Act, please click here.

To view the complete report from the U.S. International Trade Commission, please click here.