This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews yesterday encouraged small businesses to grow globally by selling more of their products and services to the world. Deputy Secretary Andrews spoke to a group of small business owners at the White House. The panel discussion is part of the Administration’s ongoing effort to help American business take advantage of the vast opportunities outside their borders. Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and the rapidly expanding global middle class is creating tremendous opportunities for all businesses to diversify their customer base. Exports contributed five straight years of record high growth to the U.S. economy. To continue this path of record export growth American companies need strong trade agreements to sell more of their products overseas. Trade is essential to job creation, the economic security of American families, as well as the nation’s competitiveness and national security.
American prosperity is directly tied to the ability to reach new markets and new customers beyond U.S. borders. The benefits of trade for small businesses are too large to ignore. U.S. firms that export are more likely to grow more rapidly; increase productivity; weather changes in the economy; hire more workers; and, pay wages that are 18 percent higher than the national average.
More and more small businesses are exporting everyday proving that going global isn’t just for large companies. Ninety-eight percent of U.S. exporters are smaller companies. The small business share of U.S. exports increased from 27 percent to 35 percent over the past decade. Advances in technology, communications, and transportation have made it easier than ever before for smaller companies to reach these consumers and do business internationally. This is good news, but the Commerce Department and the Obama Administration are committed to doing more to help even more businesses go global.
At Commerce, we have services to help businesses go global, including:
- Export assistance centers in 100 U.S. cities with exports that help local businesses find and analyze markets where their goods and services are competitive.
- Foreign Commercial Service Officers in more than 70 embassies and consulates throughout the world, who promote the export of U.S. goods and services, attract foreign investment into the United States, and defend U.S. commercial interests abroad throughout the world.
- The Advocacy Center, to help U.S. companies bid on foreign tenders against international competitors.
- Enforcement & Compliance staff, who work to protect U.S. industries from unfair trade through the enforcement of antidumping and countervailing duty trade laws.
President Obama has set an ambitious trade agenda that will put American workers first by creating opportunities for businesses to grow and expand internationally. This agenda includes passage of trade promotion legislation. Completion of new trade agreements will help more companies maximize their full potential in global markets. Passage of a bipartisan trade promotion authority bill will not only benefit businesses and middle class workers, but will also help sustain economic growth for years to come.