Bill to Improve Export Promotion for Small Businesses

June 16, 2015

pic-export-shipOn June 2, House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) introduced the Export Coordination Act of 2015 (H.R. 2586), a bill to improve the coordination of federal export promotion resources and to streamline the export process so that more small businesses can have the opportunity to sell goods and services overseas.

The bill would amend the Export Enhancement Act of 1988 to revise the duties of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC). It requires the TPCC to identify opportunities to consolidate offices of federal agencies involved in export promotion and export financing activities, coordinate electronic databases in federal agencies to support these activities, and provide a detailed listing of current and future federal and state-led trade missions, trade fairs, and related activities to ensure better delivery of services to U.S. businesses.

Large companies in the U.S. are, for all practical purposes, fully globalized. They have a good sense of where their export markets are and what is needed to sell in those markets. They know where to go to finance their foreign sales and have the resources to handle common types of foreign trade barriers to U.S. exports. The situation among small and mid-sized companies in our country is dramatically different.

This legislation would make the export process a more open and understandable undertaking by requiring the TPCC to create a government-wide strategic plan for federal trade promotion efforts to clearly identify and explain the role, goals, and objectives of each federal member agency with respect to exporting, and include the recommendations of the Comptroller General and the U.S. Travel Association relating to the TPCC and its member agencies. This would especially benefit small businesses new to exporting by providing them with important government expertise and a wider market context.

Finally, the legislation would require the Secretary of Commerce to make available a centralized listing with information on federal and state-led trade missions, trade fairs, and related activities on the website. Such access would further simplify the exporting process for small exporters, while also encouraging a voice for state-led trade agencies in setting national export strategy.

NSBA and its international trade arm—SBEA have been urging for years—decades, even—that more must be done to emphasize the needs of small business within the scope of U.S. trade in order to enhance exporting opportunities for small U.S. companies. The efforts to increase clarity, transparency, and practicality included in this bill will benefit and promote small businesses looking to export. NSBA and SBEA long supported measures that increase coordination between federal agencies, arguing that it will help more small businesses access the tools they need to export: enhanced export training and technical assistance are key.

Please click here to read NSBA’s letter of support for H.R. 2586