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Small Business Committee Conducts Oversight of SBA's State Trade Expansion Program

Small Business Committee Conducts Oversight of SBA's State Trade Expansion Program

WASHINGTON - The House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship met today for a hearing titled, "Challenges in SBA's State Trade Expansion Program."  Ranking Member John Joyce (R-PA) delivered the following opening statement: 

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.

Small businesses eyeing international markets face daunting obstacles such as insufficient manpower, lack of external resources, inadequate access to financing, and bureaucratic red tape. The Small Business Administration, or SBA, is one of six agencies that offer export promotion programs specifically for small businesses.

The SBA Office of International Trade, often referred to as OIT, is responsible for a variety of programs that provide training, counseling, and export financing for small businesses.  We are here today to review just one unique program within an exceptionally complex network of trade promotion programs.  The statutes governing the State Trade Expansion Program, known as STEP, are very specific to ensure each dollar hits its target.  Since its creation as a pilot program in 2010, SBA OIT has struggled to comply with STEP’s strict legal requirements.

One of Congress’s most vital roles is not only to exercise fiscal responsibility when spending taxpayer dollars, but also to ensure that the taxpayer dollars we allocate are being spent wisely and reaching their maximum impact. I appreciate the cooperation between all agencies and their commitment to seeing that SBA fulfills its goals relating to this program and maximizes every dollar received to help small businesses reach their potential in the international market.

This hearing resumes the Committee’s oversight of OIT and the STEP Program.  Our witnesses represent the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG); they are our eyes and ears. They are here to present the issues plaguing the STEP Program. I am encouraged by the dedication shown by all parties to expanding opportunities for small businesses, and I look forward to working with you all to achieve our common goal of reducing barriers to small business participation in global trade.

Thank you again to our distinguished witnesses, and I yield back.