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World Trade Month Spotlight: Commerce Department Supports U.S. Small Business Exports!

May 31, 2018

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Yuki Fujiyama is a trade finance specialist in the Office of Finance and Insurance Industries and the author of the Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters.  Tricia Van Orden is the Deputy Director of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Secretariat.

May is World Trade Month!  It is a fitting opportunity for the U.S. Department of Commerce to reiterate its commitment to helping U.S. companies enter and become successful in global markets.  It is also an opportunity to highlight how the Department supports U.S. exports, especially for small businesses.

Photo of U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross delivering keynote remarks at the 2018 EXIM Bank Annual Conference.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross delivers keynote remarks at the 2018 EXIM Bank Annual Conference.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross welcomed nearly 1,000 participants from around the world by delivering the keynote address at the U.S. Export-Import Bank Annual Conference in Washington D.C.  Many participants were small U.S. businesses seeking information on how to succeed in global markets. During his remarks, Secretary Ross emphasized the importance of helping American small businesses navigate international trade and finance to grow their global footprint.

Photo of U.S. Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan (Center, 2nd Row) joining the Commerce Department exhibitor team at the 2018 EXIM Bank Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan (Center, 2nd Row) joins the Commerce Department exhibitor team at the 2018 EXIM Bank Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

To echo the sentiment expressed in the Secretary’s keynote address, five Department of Commerce agencies sponsored an exhibit booth and provided export assistance information and counseling to more than 150 conference participants, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Agency representatives from the International Trade Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Industry and Security, Minority Business Development Agency and the National Institute of Standard and Technology met with attendees on strategy and planning, financing, business expansion, advocacy, dispute resolution, how to obtain trade statistics using the Harmonized System, as well as export license requirements.

Read below for more information about each of the agencies that attended the conference:

International Trade Administration (ITA)

ITA is the U.S. government’s lead export promotion agency.  Organized into three business units: 1) Global Markets; 2) Industry and Analysis; and 3) Enforcement and Compliance, ITA plays an important role in helping U.S. businesses, especially SMEs, enter and compete in global markets through export counseling and customized solutions, from how to get products through customs to commercial diplomacy, such as breaking down trade barriers.

U.S. Census Bureau

Census is one of the leading sources of quality data about the nation’s people and economy and is the official source for U.S. export and import trade statistics.  In addition, Census provides valuable resources and training on utilizing trade data, understanding the Foreign Trade Regulations and using the Automated Commercial Environment.

Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)

BIS administers and enforces the Export Administration Regulations, including issuing licenses for the export, reexport, and transfer (in-country) of commercial, military, and dual-use items, as well as for certain activities of U.S. persons.  The BIS Office of Exporter Services is the first line of contact for U.S. exporters and other trade professionals seeking information and assistance regarding export license requirements for the items and activities mentioned.

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

MBDA is the only federal agency dedicated to promoting the growth of and global competitiveness of minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs), the many of which are SMEs.  To help expand access to global market for American MBEs, MBDA recently established four new export centers in Chicago, Miami, Sacramento, and San Antonio.

National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST)

NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency charged with promoting innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology.  In 2006, the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership and ITA jointly launched ExporTech, a unique national program designed to help U.S. small manufacturers enter or expand in global markets.  Since 2006, ExportTech has helped over 1,000 manufactures in 34 states and Puerto Rico.

Together, these agencies play a critical role in supporting and promoting U.S. small business exports through a diverse array of programs. Those who received information or counseling from Department of Commerce representatives at the recent EXIM Bank Annual are ready to take the next step in advancing their business ventures in global markets!

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