WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, today praised President Obama’s Executive Order to support the National Export Initiative, which aims to double American exports over the next five years and support two million American jobs.

In a speech at the Export-Import Bank’s Annual Conference today, President Obama gave details on the Initiative, which: includes the Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of an Export Promotion Cabinet to report directly to the President and begin meeting next month; increases access to financing, especially for small businesses through the Export-Import Bank; and increases advocacy and coordination among federal agencies to ensure firms are protected and have the resources they need.

“With only one percent of small businesses currently exporting, I would like to thank President Obama for addressing the urgent need to boost our businesses’ exporting potential,” Sen. Landrieu said. “Businesses that export their goods can tap a global customer base, at a time when sales at home are low. The National Export Initiative is exactly what we need to help increase sales for small businesses, put Americans back to work and keep our country competitive. I look forward to working with the Administration to ensure that the SBA becomes a more muscular agency in respect to trade and that small businesses have the resources they need to use exporting as a way to grow and expand.”

“I applaud the President’s announcement as a critical step in achieving his stated goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years,” said Ranking Member Snowe. “Ensuring that American entrepreneurs are able to successfully compete in the global marketplace and create and retain jobs here at home must be a vital priority as we endeavor to improve the current climate in which less than one percent of small businesses export. Combined with swift passage of legislation I introduced with Chair Landrieu in December to bolster Federal assistance to small businesses seeking to expand into foreign markets, the President’s National Export Initiative can have an immediate impact in hastening a durable economic recovery and putting more Americans back to work.”

Senators Snowe and Landrieu introduced, and the Small Business Committee unanimously passed, S. 2862, The Small Business Export Enhancement and International Trade Act, in December. Unlike other federal agencies involved with trade, the SBA has a unique relationship with the small business community – reaching, through its counseling centers, more than 600,000 small businesses each year. Many of these businesses may have never considered exporting as a way to expand. This bill would: enhance the role of the SBA in trade to improve awareness of the potential of exporting in the small business community; ensure better coordination among federal agencies and resources; and improve access to loans and counseling programs for small exporters. To read more about the bill, please click here.

To read more about the President’s plan, please click here.