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Sounding off: SBEA testifies before congress on the power & potential of small business exports.

More small businesses could be increasing their sales through exports, and the U.S. could be lowering its trade deficit, with better coordination of the government's export promotion efforts, the Small Business Exporters Association of the U.S. told Congress during an April hearing.

SBEA, the international trade council of NSBA, testified before a panel of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on April 24.

SBEA President Jim Morrison reminded the panel of the "good news / bad news" about small-business exporting. "Over 230,000 small businesses in the U.S. are exporting, and they're selling more than $450 billion worth of American goods and services," Morrison noted, "which is a scale of small-business exporting that relatively few Americans are aware of. Indeed, 97% of all U.S. exporters are small. And over 80% have five employees or fewer."

"The bad news is that these statistics are a fraction of what they could be. With more than 26 million small businesses in America, the number of small-business exporters still represents only about 1% of all small businesses."

SBEA urged Congress to improve the percentage of U.S. small-business exporters by improving export promotion coordination among the 20+ federal agencies that play a role in international trade. This coordination is currently managed by a small office deep in the Commerce Department, which is supposed to be telling its own boss, the Secretary of Commerce, as well as other Cabinet officers and agency heads, what to do.

Morrison suggested that the coordination be done by an office in the White House, in conjunction with the White House Office of Management and Budget, which establishes agency budgets.

A bill to accomplish this (H. R. 5883) has been introduced by Representatives Don Manzullo (R-IL) and John Mica (R-FL).
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Title Annotation:COUNCIL UPDATES
Author:Morrison, Jim
Publication:NSBA Advocate
Date:May 1, 2008
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