WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today commented on the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee’s (TPCC) release of the 2011 National Export Strategy, which outlines the Administration’s plan for increasing U.S. exports in 2011. The 2011 strategy focuses on the Administration’s progress in implementing the recommendations made by the President’s Export Promotion Cabinet as part of the National Export Initiative (NEI), which seeks to double U.S. exports by 2015 and create two million new American jobs.

“With 95% of the worlds customers located outside of our borders, our small businesses cannot afford to miss out on opportunities that will allow them to expand their business globally, especially when sales at home are low,” said Senator Landrieu. “I am pleased to see that the promotion of export opportunities for our small business continues to be a top priority for the Administration, as evidenced by the progress outlined in the 2011 strategy. However, there is still much work to be done and if we are to achieve the President’s ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports and creating two million new American jobs, it is critical that the Administration move forward with other complementary initiatives aimed at increasing small business exporting opportunities, including the full implementation of the exporting provisions enacted by the Small Business Jobs Act.”

Today, Senator Landrieu also sent a letter to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding the Agency’s progress in implementing a key provision from the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 [Public Law 111-240]. Section 1203 of the legislation directed the SBA to appoint an Associate Administrator to head the Office of International Trade and coordinate the agency’s export promotion activities. In the letter, Senator Landrieu highlighted the importance of filling this position in light of the significant number of pending Administration initiatives aimed at increasing export opportunities for small businesses, including the NEI.

Senator Landrieu wrote:

“Although the Administration has taken steps to fulfill its statutory obligations by temporarily designating a current SBA employee as Acting Associate Administrator for International Trade, I am concerned that this position has yet to be filled with a permanent, full-time appointment. As you know, the intent of the Small Business Jobs Act was to provide the small business community with immediate relief through, among other initiatives, improved access to exporting and business development opportunities in foreign markets. Key to the success of these efforts is having strong leadership in charge of the Office of International Trade, ensuring that the many changes made by this law are being swiftly and properly implemented.”

Senator Landrieu continued:

“With these factors in mind, I urge you to fulfill the SBA’s statutory obligation by moving swiftly to appoint a permanent, full time and qualified candidate to the position of Associate Administrator for International Trade.”

This letter comes on the heels of yesterday’s letter to the SBA as part of the Chair Landrieu’s continuing oversight of the implementation of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Senator Landrieu chaired a hearing last month to examine the federal government’s implementation of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, signed into law by the President last year. Representatives from the SBA as well as a number of small business owners testified before the Small Business Committee regarding the Agency’s progress in implementing many provision included in the law.

To see a copy of today’s letter, click here.

To see a copy of the 2011 National Export Strategy, click here.

To see a copy of yesterday’s letter on overall implementation, click here.

To see the hearing in its entirety and testimony, click here.