WASHINGTON – In response to a March 24th letter from United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., requesting the addition of an Assistant United States Trade Representative (USTR) to focus exclusively on small business export issues, USTR Ronald Kirk on Friday said that his office would look into creating the position to help small businesses.

“As I indicated to the Finance Committee, we will continue to explore effective ways to integrate more fully the interests and concerns of small business into USTR’s agenda, including, if it is the best way to ensure that we can expand small business opportunities, creating an Assistant USTR for Small Business,” Ambassador Kirk wrote.

“Small businesses account for 97 percent of all exporters, but only 29 percent of all U.S. exporting volume,” Sen. Landrieu said. “We can and should do more to encourage small business exports, especially in light of the U.S. trade deficit and these uncertain economic times. By establishing a senior position to focus on small businesses, I believe that USTR would give America’s more than 27 million small businesses a stronger voice as we remove barriers and open additional markets for U.S. goods and services. I am encouraged by Ambassador Kirk’s willingness to thoughtfully review our request and look forward to working with him to further promote small business export opportunities.”

“While I appreciate Ambassador Kirk’s efforts to fully include small business concerns in United States trade policy, I must reiterate my longstanding support for the creation of an Assistant United States Trade Representative for Small Business as the most effective way of ensuring that small firms receiving adequate assistance in American trade discussions,” said Senator Snowe. “I look forward to hearing from the Ambassador’s Office in the coming months as the Administration develops a strategy to more effectively represent small businesses in U.S. trade policy development, trade negotiations, and the trade remedy and enforcement process.”

The March 24th letter from Sens. Landrieu, Snowe and Schumer is available here.

Ambassador Kirk’s response is available here.