The State of Trade for America’s Small Businesses
WASHINGTON—Today, Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and the House Committee on Small Business heard from a panel of stakeholders on the state of international trade for America’s 30 million small businesses.
“We must do more to make it easier for small businesses to engage in foreign markets. About one percent of United States small businesses export—around 300,000 of them and, in 2016, exports reached 2.2 trillion dollars and supported nearly 11.5 million jobs,” said Chairman Chabot.
“Simply put, trade means opportunity for small business. After all, 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of our borders, and I have long believed that if we tear down trade barriers, we can make it easier for small businesses to participate in the global marketplace and unleash one of the largest sectors of the American economy. “
Tariffs, Trade, and Technology
At the hearing, witnesses agreed that there is little doubt that the United States needs to negotiate better trade deals—agreements that not only make American small business more competitive but also fair for American workers. Stronger and more easily enforceable trade agreements means businesses will create and sell more products, drive up wages, increase benefits, and generate more jobs. Increased access to international markets strengthens the American economy.
“Some of the challenges small businesses face are similar to larger businesses, including tariffs and other market access barriers, lack of transparency, discriminatory policies and weak protection of intellectual property,” said Mr. Chuck Weatherington, President of BTE Technologies, Inc. in Hanover, MD, testifying on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers. “We need open markets and strong, enforceable agreements that eliminate barriers and set in place strong rules to promote fairness.”
“One of the most significant barriers to success in international business is the investment of resources without any known return. Companies often do not have the needed funds or they are unwilling to take the investment risk,” stated Mr. Ken Couch, Director of Product Management at ComSonics, Inc. in Harrisonburg, VA, testifying on behalf of the State International Development Organizations (SIDO).
“It is important to start out on a foundational point, i.e., that free international trade amounts to a significant plus for the economy, consumers and small businesses. In fact, the net benefits of free trade are one of the very few points upon which most economists agree,” said Mr. Raymond J. Keating, Chief Economist at the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, in Vienna, VA. “Free trade reduces costs through enhanced competition and lower trade barriers; expands choices and lowers prices for consumers; keeps U.S. firms competitive; opens new markets and opportunities for U.S. goods and services; expands economic freedom; and feeds economic growth.”
Committee Members agreed that trade is not a choice or a luxury in our modern world. It is a necessity. If the United States wants to continue to be a global economic powerhouse, small businesses need to have every opportunity to engage in global commerce.Click here to watch full hearing, and here to read full testimony.