In July 2013 the House Foreign Affairs Committee favorably reported the Rep. Graves-Engel Export Promotion Reform Act (H.R. 1409) and the Rep. Chabot-sponsored State Trade Coordination Act (H.R. 1926).
On May 9, Graves and Chabot introduced legislation to reduce some of the key barriers and obstacles faced by small business exporters. The Export Coordination Act, sponsored by Graves, would establish stronger congressional oversight and coordination of the federal export promotion agencies. Currently, there are over 20 federal agencies that provide some, or all, of the steps in the export process, and many small businesses do not know where to go for the information relevant to their needs. Graves' legislation was merged with Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Rep. Eliot Engel’s (D-NY) Export Promotion Reform Act (H.R. 1409) during a subcommittee markup on June 26. Additional provisions of the Graves bill were added during the full committee markup. The State Trade Coordination Act, sponsored by Chabot, would establish the framework to ensure that federal and state trade agencies work in unison to assist their local exporters. Chabot is also a Subcommittee Chairman for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Both pieces of legislation were reported out of the Committee by unanimous voice vote.
“Expanding into world markets is a big challenge for small firms with limited resources, so Washington should do more to make the process simpler,” said Chairman Graves. “A recent National Small Business Association study found that nearly 50 percent of small exporters spend at least a few months preparing to export, and spend an average of 8.4 percent of that year’s operating revenue on those preparations. Our legislation will help streamline the export process and provide better coordination among the federal export promotion agencies, something that is badly needed to open up new markets for many small companies.”
“Due to the complex maze of trade rules and regulations both foreign and domestic, less than one percent of small businesses actively export their products,” said Rep. Chabot. “The goal of the State Trade Coordination Act is to encourage cooperation between state and federal trade promotion agencies, so more small businesses have access to the tools they need to successfully navigate trade rules. By making it easier for small businesses to sell their products overseas, we can create an environment in which small businesses can thrive, grow and expand. Quite simply, more exports mean more jobs.“
We held a hearing on small business trade opportunities in the 113th Congress in February of 2013 and invite you to tell us how this will affect your business.