WASHINGTON – United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair, Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Ranking Member Senator J. Olympia Snowe, today commented on the release of a report saying that small businesses require more help entering and expanding into foreign markets. The U.S. International Trade Commission’s (USITC) report, “Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: Overview of Participation in U.S. Exports,” showed that just a third of exports came from small businesses – despite small firms making up about 97 percent of all exporters.
“This report confirms what I have heard from small business owners time and time again, that they are getting hit hard by unfair costs and regulations and that the programs meant to help them are not working adequately,” Senator Landrieu said. “Improving these programs is especially important now, as small businesses find their domestic marketplace increasingly tapped out because of the recession. That is why Senator Snowe and I introduced, and the Small Business Committee passed in December, legislation that would correct many of these problems. Our initiatives would strengthen and improve support for entrepreneurs seeking to expand their businesses, create new jobs and compete in the international market.”
“Today’s report underscores the necessity of getting more small- and medium-sized businesses involved in exporting to create jobs and ignite a recovery,” said Ranking Member Snowe. “These firms are critical to the health of the American economy, and legislation I have introduced with Chair Landrieu and that the Small Business Committee unanimously approved in December will help boost the number of small firms realizing the numerous benefits of international trade. Additionally, I am pleased to be meeting with Ambassador Kirk today to urge him to establish an Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Small Business position to guarantee that our nation's smallest entrepreneurs are given the highest priority when formulating trade policy.”
The USITC report reveals that a major barrier to exporting for small businesses is a lack of resources. To help remedy this, Senators Snowe and Landrieu introduced, and the Small Business Committee passed, the Small Business Export Enhancement and International Trade Act (S. 2862). This bill would improve access to loans and counseling programs for small exporters and enhance knowledge and inter-agency coordination of existing federal export assistance resources. The Senators have also requested a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report investigating the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) to further ensure federal exporting resources are supporting the needs of small firms.
Many of the issues the report highlights were discussed at a field hearing Senator Landrieu chaired in New Orleans last June at which Ambassador Kirk, U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills, and several local officials testified. To read Senator Landrieu’s statement and witness testimony from the field hearing please click here.