Help Small Businesses to Export

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 8:45pm
America’s small business owners are hailed as heroes of free enterprise, not least because they generate two-thirds all new U.S. jobs. But it’s often overlooked in the trade debate that 98% of the 300,000 American companies that export are small and medium-sized businesses. 
In fact, smaller companies account for one-third of U.S. merchandise exports, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The number of small and midsized firms that export has risen about threefold over the past two decades.
If more U.S. small businesses were able to seize export opportunities, the gains could be immense. In a good first step, the National Export Initiative launched in 2010 includes commitments to better coordinate the efforts of the U.S. Commercial Service, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and other agencies to help small businesses tap foreign markets. In addition, the Export-Import Bank of the United States has expanded its outreach programs to help small businesses export are being expanded. The U.S. Chamber has supported these initiatives. 
While removing the trade barriers that shut U.S. exports out of foreign markets is by far the most cost effective way to help firms of all sizes to boost their sales abroad, export promotion programs focusing on America’s small businesses offer significant gains. Showing how smaller companies can gain from trade would also help build political support for international trade. By adding to the ranks of small businesses that see direct benefit in exporting, Americans will be able to see more clearly the possibilities offered by worldwide trade.