Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
Grant D. Aldonas
"How TPA Will Benefit Small Businesses"
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Small Business
Subcommittee on Tax, Finance, and Exports
July 24, 2001
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Pascrell, and Members of
the Committee, for inviting me to testify before the Committee on
Small Business. I look forward to establishing an effective working
relationship with you and your staff. Secretary Evans asked me personally
to convey his interest in your advice and counsel as we represent
all sizes of U.S. businesses abroad. I understand that when Ambassador
Zoellick testified before your committee he expressed interest in
hosting, with Secretary Evans, a roundtable listening session with
small businesses this fall. I would like to underscore our interest
in doing so. Ambassador Zoellick also called for congressional recommendations
for appointees from U.S. small businesses to the various ISACs,
and we likewise would be interested in having your recommendations.
Our 25 million-plus small companies form the backbone of our economy.
They create three of every four new jobs, generate more than half
of the nation's gross domestic product, and account for nearly 97
percent of all U.S. exporters. Trade is essential to their future
and to all they employ.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your holding this hearing to enable
us to discuss the importance of our trade policy agenda to small
businesses. It is often mistakenly assumed that our trade policy
only benefits the large multinational companies when, in fact, small
businesses hold an increasingly large stake in markets where we
have trade liberalizing agreements.
I look forward to hearing the Committee's views on how we should
shape the U.S. negotiating agenda to meet the needs of small businesses
and farmers. To start that discussion, I would like to emphasize
two points. First, I welcome the opportunity to discuss the importance
of granting the President Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to our
agenda for small business. Second, I would like to explain the important
role that the Commerce Department plays as an advocate for our exporters
and tell you about the "benchmarking" exercise that we
are undertaking to ensure that we provide world-class export promotion
services, particularly to U.S. small- and medium-sized businesses.
The Importance of Trade Promotion Authority to Small Business
Critics as diverse as Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan argue that
trade only benefits larger multinational corporations. They assert
that trade destroys American manufacturing and impoverishes American
workers. They maintain that trade encourages a race to the bottom
that would erode America's labor and environmental protections.
The truth is just the opposite. Over the last decade, while the
United States was negotiating and implementing the North American
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Uruguay Round, the U.S. economy
achieved the highest rate of sustained economic growth we have seen
in a generation. During this period inflation and unemployment fell
to their lowest sustained levels since the 1960's.
America's manufacturing sector maintained its share of GDP, holding
steady at slightly over 17 percent between 1987 and 1999. Significantly,
between 1992 and 2000, while NAFTA and the Uruguay Round were opening
new markets for our exporters, the overall economy grew by 35.4
percent, but manufacturing output outpaced that growth, increasing
by 54 percent. Productivity in manufacturing has grown at an average
rate of 4.3 percent during the current business cycle, and it accelerated
to a 5.3 percent pace in 1996-2000. Liberalized trade is a boon
to the small U.S. manufacturers, which benefit from a greater supply
of inputs at lower prices, enabling them to remain globally competitive.
Given that small firms comprise most of the U.S. service sector,
I'd like to point out that global services trade was valued at $1.4
trillion in 1999. We estimate that some $296 billion in U.S. services
exports supported 4.4 million jobs in 2000, up significantly from
1994 when $185.4 billion in services exports supported an estimated
3.4 million jobs.
Did trade hurt the American worker during the last decade? The U.S.
economy created more than 20 million new jobs since the early 1990s.
Since 1995, total U.S. private sector productivity has increased
3 percent a year and real wages are up. Exports supported some 12
million U.S. jobs this past year. Workers in jobs supported by these
exports receive wages 13-18 percent higher than the national average.
Now, were big companies the only ones to profit from trade liberalization?
Absolutely not. As I noted earlier, 97 percent of U.S. merchandise
exporters are small- and medium-sized companies. Their exports accounted
for $161.7 billion in 1998, or 29 percent of the total dollar value
of our exports that we can trace back to specific companies. Companies
with fewer than 20 employees made up two-thirds of all U.S. exporting
firms in 1998.
Please bear in mind that these figures count only firms that export
goods directly, and do not include suppliers whose inputs are exported
in final products or services. While we do not have an exact count
of such "indirect exporters," companies like CaseNewHolland,
Inc., and Boeing have reported that their suppliers number in the
hundreds. For example, one Case IH MX Magnum tractor has nearly
200 companies in 27 states, representing about 75,000 other jobs,
all providing parts for a tractor that is exported from the CaseNewHolland
plant in Racine, Wisconsin.
More importantly, lowering trade barriers abroad helps small business
exporters, more than large companies in one fundamental way. Large
companies benefit from economies of scale and have the resources
either to export or to invest abroad on the other side of trade
barriers erected by foreign governments. Small business generally
only has the one option to export.
What that means in practical terms is that, the more we lower
trade barriers abroad, the more we benefit small businesses relative
to their larger competitors for foreign markets.
A recent study by Robert Stern at the Gerald R. Ford School of
Public Policy at the University of Michigan underscores that point.
Professor Stern estimates that a one-third reduction in global barriers
to trade in agriculture, services, and manufacturing would yield
$613 billion in world economic growth, the equivalent of an economy
the size of Canada. Eliminating all trade barriers would boost global
growth by $1.9 trillion, the equivalent of adding two Chinas.
Those are markets that would be open to our small businesses.
And our small businesses are ready to take advantage of the markets
we open for them.
Trade liberalization would help the small- and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs) achieve greater market access in international markets. Sixty-three
percent of all SME exporters posted sales to only one foreign market
in 1998. Canada and Mexico account for nearly one-third of total
exports from SMEs. This is due to both proximity and to the benefits
brought about by NAFTA. New free trade agreements would streamline
and facilitate the export process, enabling SMEs to take full advantage
of new markets and opportunities.
Let me give you a few examples of how our small exporters have
taken advantage of NAFTA.
Die Tech Industries of Providence, RI, has increased its
exports of die casting machinery to Mexico dramatically as a result
of NAFTA. The company touts improved customs procedures under the
NAFTA and increased competitiveness vis-a-vis its competitors in
Mexico as the reason for their success.
Enviro Marine of Greenville, SC, is a small manufacturer
of absorbent and bio-remediation devices used to prevent pollution.
As a result of NAFTA, the company has successfully entered Canadian
market and has located a distributor in two cities. The company
plans to further increase its exports to Canada and other world
markets. But before doing so, Enviro Marine - like many other companies
- first determines the success of the bilateral trade relationship
and the existence of trade agreements.
Sioux Steam Cleaner Corporation of Beresford, SD, exports
industrial cleaning equipment duty-free to Canada and Mexico as
a result of NAFTA. In 1999, the company expanded its operations
by adding six new distributing locations in Canada and its first
distributor in Mexico. In addition, as a result of NAFTA, three
of Sioux Steam's U.S. distributors have been able to break into
the Mexican market for the first time. Sioux Steam's management
feels strongly that the elimination of duties under NAFTA has given
the company an advantage over its competitors.
That said, a key element is missing. That is the renewal of the
Trade Promotion Authority.
It is often stated that we do not need Trade Promotion Authority
until an agreement is concluded and Congress has to vote on its
implementation. What that argument ignores is the fundamental role
that Congress was intended to play in setting our trade policies
under the Constitution.
In fact, what Trade Promotion Authority really provides is a vehicle
to ensure that the Congress and the President have agreed on our
objectives and on how they will work together to achieve them. President
Bush recently observed that, "Free trade agreements are being
negotiated all over the world, and we're not party to them."
There are more than 130 preferential trade agreements in the world
today. The United States belongs to only two. The President's point
is that we have to get off the sidelines and back into the game,
and Trade Promotion Authority is essential to that effort.
That explains the "what" of Trade Promotion Authority,
but it does not explain the "why." The "why"
is that our inaction hurts American small businesses and the workers
they employ as they find their goods and services shut out of markets
by the many preferential trade and investment agreements negotiated
by our trading partners. When the President laid out his international
trade legislative agenda in May, he identified the specific trade
negotiating objectives he intends to pursue in order to advance
We must make the needs of small business a priority as we draft
our negotiating objectives. While small businesses benefit significantly
from the lowering of tariff barriers and other restraints, they
also have the strongest interest in the elimination of the red tape
that often hinders our exports. That's why small manufacturers are
interested in achieving additional progress on the harmonization
of standards and burdensome customs procedures. We and most other
WTO members seek negotiations in trade facilitation which
helps to resolve customs procedures and related transparency issues
to benefit small business.
The Industry Sector Advisory Committee on Small and Minority Business
for Trade Policy Matters (ISAC-14) provides us with advice on small
business priorities on international trade agreements and for our
workings within multilateral fora such as the OECD and APEC SME
Working Parties. ISAC-14 is part of the Industry Consultations Program
(ICP) that gives U.S. companies a voice in the trade policy making
process, and includes many SME representatives. For example, ISAC-14
members recently met with the OECD Working Party on SMEs about mutual
SME concerns, including the need for the OECD to focus on dispute
resolution mechanisms suitable for SMEs. Also, in 1999, the ISAC
played an important role in providing advice to Seattle WTO negotiators
and securing SME-specific language in WTO documents.
Our SME private-sector trade advisors have expressed their strong
support for TPA and believe that its passage will benefit small
business interests, and we will continue to consult with them as
we draft negotiating objectives. All of this points to why we need
to pass TPA and get back in the game of opening new markets for
our small businesses.
The Role of the Commerce Department as an Advocate for Small
Business and the Work of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee
We are acutely aware of the fact that negotiating new agreements
will only take us so far. We need to "fill in" behind
the negotiations. For our economy to fully benefit from new market
openings, we need to expand the base of exporters -- and that means
increasing the number of small businesses that export.
That, in fact, is the strategic element that has been missing
in our trade promotion efforts to date. Small businesses, in particular,
need to get information, expertise, support and financing to do
the deals. This requires the coordinated effort of all of the federal
agencies involved in export promotion.
TPCC Benchmarking Exercise
Fortunately, we have the right management tool in place the
Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), created by Congress
in 1992, which is chaired by the Secretary of Commerce and is comprised
of 19 agencies.
The TPCC works on behalf of small businesses by working to coordinate
government export promotion programs so that small companies can
access them more easily. The TPCC has streamlined financing for
small business, which has resulted in a quadrupling of the value
of exports supported by the working capital programs of the Export-Import
Bank and SBA. Recently, the TPCC organized a series of seminars
in Baltimore, Los Angeles and Chicago, during which officials from
the Commerce Department, the United States Trade Representative,
the Small Business Administration, and the Export-Import Bank provided
information to small firms about business opportunities arising
out of recent trade legislation.
We have a plan for taking the TPCC back to its roots as a management
tool by undertaking a benchmarking exercise that will help us better
serve our small business customers. Our goal is to ensure that we
offer them world-class export promotion services.
Last week, Secretary Evans, as Chair of the TPCC, got the commitment
of the heads of the member agencies to undertake this innovative
review and established a timeline for its completion. We will assess
our customers' expectations and their level of satisfaction. We
also will compare our business processes to these in other government
agencies and the private sector to determine whether we are making
use of their best practices. We intend to produce an interim report
to Congress at the end of September and provide a full report on
March 30 of next year. This report will include recommended reforms
of our programs and services.
It is more important than ever that our policy and promotion efforts
on behalf of small businesses are coordinated and mutually reinforcing.
Our goal is to provide the American people, and the small- and medium-sized
exporters in particular, the most efficient, strategically-focused,
well-coordinated and customer-driven programs possible.
With that, let me turn to the job that the International Trade
Administration (ITA) at the Department of Commerce does to generate
economic growth through small business.
ITA is a $334 million agency with over 2,430 employees and four
main operating units: the Commercial Service (CS), Market Access
and Compliance (MAC), Trade Development (TD), and Import Administration
(IA) all of which strive to help small- and medium-sized
We estimate that almost 80 percent of ITA's resources go towards
helping smaller companies compete and win in the global economy.
Our array of programs and services, ranging from information to
hands-on assistance, help SMEs through every stage of the export
Over the past few years, ITA has been making it easier for SMEs
to use our services by delivering them through alternative channels,
such as the Internet and e-mail, and by developing "virtual"
programs that allow SME exporters to take advantage of our services
without leaving their offices. These "virtual" programs
include Virtual Trade Missions, Video Gold Keys, Video Market Briefings,
our new export portal, export.gov, and our new electronic marketplace
known as BuyUSA.com.
Additionally, Mr Chairman, I have brought with me copies of our
new 2001 Export Programs Guide, which highlights our programs.
General Export Counseling and Assistance
As the first stop, we encourage SMEs to contact our Trade Information
Center (TIC), for counseling via phone on its 1-800-USA-TRADE hotline.
The TIC handles a variety of export questions ranging from "how
to get started" to technical requirements in particular countries.
The TIC also provides basic export counseling, information on all
U.S. Government export assistance programs, and country and regional
In FY 2000, the TIC handled more than 731,000 inquiries. Of these,
TIC trade specialists responded personally to more than 85,400 inquiries,
87 percent of which were from SMEs. To meet the huge public demand
for information, the TIC now has over 30 web-enabled databases.
Our Commercial Service is a worldwide network of 1800 employees
who strive to help U.S. firms realize their export potential and
emphasizes outreach to small- and medium-sized enterprises. We have
Commercial Service officers posted in 160 locations in 85 countries
abroad; they are our "eyes and ears" on the ground, providing
information back to Commerce headquarters and our district offices.
Our 105 U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs) throughout the
nation have become the hubs in a hub-and-spoke network. The USEACs
which include federal, state, and local government partners
(some locations combine the resources of the Small Business Administration
and the U.S. Export-Import Bank) offer export counseling,
market research, trade events and international finance solutions
to U.S. exporters. I strongly encourage you to send your constituents
to the ones close to your districts.
During FY 2000, the Commercial Service's U.S. Export Assistance
Centers counseled 17,855 U.S. companies in 44,156 counseling sessions
and worked with a total client base of 88,100, nearly all of which
were small- and medium-sized companies. The work the offices did
with these companies resulted in 4,627 verifiable export sales worth
$5.1 billion in export sales.
During the same period, the Commercial Service's overseas Posts
recorded 4,628 verifiable sales totaling $16.2 billion as a result
of the assistance they provided to U.S. companies. Seventy percent
(3,237) of these verifiable sales were from small- and medium-sized
clients, with an average sale per company of $1.2 million. The Commercial
Service overseas officers also undertook 189,865 counseling sessions
with U.S. companies and potential buyers.
We have a couple of initiatives to reach out to traditionally
under-served communities. Our Rural Export Initiative (REI) seeks
to increase the number of rural companies engaged in exporting by
ensuring better access to export assistance programs and services
(video conferencing services, virtual tradeshows and webcasting
programs). The REI team counseled over 1500 rural companies and
sponsored 75 trade events in FY 2000. Under the REI, we have developed
the Native American Exporter Incubator Program (located in South
Dakota, Washington, Arizona, and New Mexico). The goal of this program
is to develop export markets for Native American Businesses while
also training them in international business procedures and marketing.
Through our Global Diversity Initiative (GDI), we provide comprehensive
training to minority- and women-owned firms to prepare them to sell
their products/services internationally. We have provided "how-to-export"
training to over 200 minority companies. Our GDI team counseled
over 700 minority clients at 17 sites across the country last year.
SME exporters should visit export.gov, a single, customer-focused
website designed to help U.S. exporters quickly assess their needs
and find all U.S. Government export-related information online.
By providing all country, industry, and program information in one
location, export.gov enables users to answer their questions quickly
without having to understand the organizational structure of the
U.S. Government. For example, a user can locate in-depth market
research, check trade leads, find partners, look into export-financing
programs, and peruse potential export opportunities in just a few
Industry-Specific Counseling and Assistance
ITA's industry specialists annually provide over 92,000 SMEs with
assistance, in sectors ranging from basic manufacturing to high
technology and service exports. Our specialists deliver information
and analyses on industry-specific foreign market conditions and
regulations, industry trends, business practices, and competitiveness
by industry sector. They send time-sensitive trade leads and contact
information to industry and are increasingly using videoconferencing
for industry counseling.
Country-Specific Counseling and Assistance
SME exporters can receive country-specific counseling on commercial
laws, regulations, distribution channels, opportunities and best
prospects for U.S. companies in individual foreign markets, and
import tariffs/taxes and customs procedures, among other topics
by calling 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) or by visiting the USA Trade Information
Center. Trade Information Center specialists provide counseling
and assistance on Asia, Western Europe, Latin America, NAFTA, Africa,
and the Near East (tradeinfo.doc.gov). The Business Information
Service for the Newly Independent States (BISNIS) is the U.S. Government's
clearinghouse for business information on the Newly Independent
States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union (www.bisnis.doc.gov). The
Central and Eastern Europe Business Information Center (CEEBIC)
is a business facilitation program for U.S. firms interested in
expanding into Central and Eastern Europe (www.mac.doc.gov/eebic/ceebic).
Small business exporters traveling overseas also have access to
services provided by Commercial Service Officers in U.S. Embassies
and Consulates in more than 160 offices around the world. Commercial
Service Officers provide information and assistance to U.S. firms.
Trade Contacts and Market Research Programs
Small businesses have benefitted from ITA's programs to identify
overseas markets, clients, and partners. For example, the Gold Key
Matching Service pairs U.S. firms with pre-screened international
companies interested in becoming agents, distributors, sales representatives
or strategic business partners. For those companies that desire
longer-term, sustained assistance, ITA offers the Platinum Key Service,
which provides comprehensive, customized market entry support. This
customized service can assist companies to identify markets, launch
projects, develop opportunities, reduce market access barriers,
and address regulatory or technical standards matters.
Increasingly, ITA uses electronic technology to assist small companies
with their exporting endeavors. Video technology provides U.S. companies
face-to-face contact with potential international partners without
the expense and time of foreign travel. Two different kinds of video
opportunities are currently available: Video Market Briefings that
offer SMEs a chance to ask questions and obtain specialized knowledge
from overseas commercial officers located in their market of interest,
and Video Gold Keys that give U.S. companies the opportunity to
screen potential business partners via video conferencing.
ITA is currently working with IBM to establish an electronic "B2B"
marketplace known as BuyUSA.com. BuyUSA.com is an online service
that matches U.S. companies with potential buyers and business partners
overseas. BuyUSA.com, which will be linked to export.gov, integrates
the export counseling and lead-generation functions of the U.S.
Commercial Service with an on-line export marketplace exclusively
for U.S. businesses. For a fee, U.S. companies can create a product
catalog and be automatically forwarded inquiries of interest from
over 70 markets worldwide.
SMEs can also participate in an International Partner Search.
Through this service, companies receive a report on up to five pre-screened
overseas agents, distributors, manufacturers, representatives, joint
venture partners, licensees, franchises, or strategic partners who
have examined a U.S. company's materials and expressed an interest
in the company's products, services, or licenses, or expressed an
interest in otherwise partnering with the company.
For those companies that desire specific market research pertaining
to their products or services, Flexible Market Research provides
U.S. firms with individualized information on overseas markets.
It answers such questions as the overall marketability of a product
or service, market trends and size, customary distribution and promotion
practices, market entry requirements, regulations, product standards
and registration, key competitors, and potential agents, distributors,
or strategic partners.
Making Contacts Through Trade Promotion Events
In 2000, ITA carried out 80 trade missions and 500 other promotions
including trade fairs, catalog events, and international buyer shows
that assisted over 4,500 mostly smaller, U.S. businesses in new
markets overseas. These events assist U.S. companies in making contacts,
developing business relationships, and locating customers overseas.
Trade events are an excellent way for companies to get international
exposure and make valuable contacts.
Last summer, 15 U.S. technology companies participated in a Virtual
Trade Mission to China, which was organized specifically to serve
small business clients. This program, sponsored by BuyUSA.com, allowed
SMEs to avoid the expense of physically traveling to the show in
Beijing by displaying their products and services online. Approximately
4500 people viewed the booth, generating over 1000 trade leads.
BuyUSA.com is currently planning additional virtual trade mission
opportunities including the Paris Air Show, the aerospace world's
foremost trading event, and a "U.S. Health Products Virtual
Expo" in Korea.
Catalog exhibits are another way for U.S. companies to economically
showcase in selected international markets without traveling. Through
these exhibits ITA presents product literature to hundreds of interested
business prospects abroad and sends the trade leads directly to
The Advocacy Center marshals the resources of 19 U.S. Government
agencies in the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee and U.S.
officials stationed at our embassies and consulates abroad. The
Center aims to ensure that when SMEs participate in international
public-sector tenders they are treated fairly and their proposals
are evaluated on technical and commercial merits. Since 1993, the
Advocacy Center has helped over 140 SMEs win foreign government
contracts worth over $3.7 billion. In addition, thousands of SMEs
benefit indirectly from the Advocacy Center's services as suppliers
or subcontractors to larger U.S. companies.
Through MAC's Trade Compliance Center (TCC), small businesses
without need for costly legal and consulting advice
receive the full benefits of the trade agreements that this Administration
has negotiated. The TCC is the one-stop-shop for U.S. businesses,
small and large, to get directly the information and help they need
to compete globally.
The TCC is also the Trade Complaint Center and features a hotline
to enable small- and medium-sized exporters to instantly contact
the Commerce Department to report on market access and trade agreements
problems and to receive direct replies to their complaints. The
TCC provides a "home page" geared towards small businesses
(http://www.mac.doc.gov/Tcc/e-guides/sm_ex.html). TCC On-Line also
features a fully searchable database of over 300 trade and related
agreements and market access information on over 100 foreign markets
published by the Commerce Department and other agencies.
Our expertise in market access barriers to U.S. exports allows
us to offer specialized, in-depth support for firms with these problems.
MAC's country specialists help U.S. firms by using their knowledge
of foreign government practices and by marshaling the forces of
other U.S. Government agencies to combat unfair trade practices.
MAC also maintains special websites with information on countries
and regions (e.g., China, Africa, NAFTA, Northern Ireland and the
Border Counties, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and the Newly
Independent States, the Caribbean Basin).
Our goal is to solve problems at a practical level. If and when
that is not possible, we work with USTR to build cases that can
be litigated at the WTO or in other formal dispute fora.
In February, Secretary Evans invited each Member of Congress to
designate one staff member to work with our Trade Compliance Center
to refer constituent market access and compliance problems; if you
aren't already working with us on this, I hope that you will.
Export Finance, Insurance, and Grants
Small businesses often find financing to be one of the biggest
obstacles to exporting. To help exporters locate firms that finance
sales to overseas buyers, ITA has launched the Export Finance Matchmaker,
an interactive Internet service (trade.gov/td/efm/). ITA also
sponsors Export Financing Workshops to educate SMEs about the value
of innovative finance as a sales tool. In FY 2001, more than 200
companies have participated in Export Financing workshops across
ITA also uses competitive matching grants to build public and
private partnerships. This program, the Market Development Cooperator
Program (MDCP), provides federal assistance to those state and local
non-profit export multipliers that are particularly effective in
reaching SMEs. MDCP awards help underwrite the start-up costs of
new export marketing ventures that these groups would otherwise
be reluctant to undertake.
Special Technical Assistance
ITA administers programs that provide SMEs with important technical
information and assistance on a variety of specialized trade-related
Our 301 Alert service e-mails early warnings to SMEs that register
with us to help them react to potential increases in U.S. import
duties in response to unfair trade practices. 301 Alert service
is located at ita.doc.gov/301alert.
The Export Trade Certificate of Review Program allows SMEs to
cooperate on exporting without U.S. antitrust implications. By cooperating
with one another, SMEs can increase their export profits and access
new export business at an accelerated rate. The Export Trade Certificate
of Review Program allows SMEs to coordinate on export cost sharing,
such as sharing costs of market research, promotion, financing,
and transportation; establishing distribution networks; and operating
overseas facilities. The program also allows SMEs to conduct joint
export activities, such as setting export prices and filling large
and complex export sales orders that they otherwise would never
be able to do on their own. More than 5,000 U.S. firms are operating
under the program's antitrust protection.
Unfair Trade Laws
Import Administration (IA), which administers the unfair trade
laws, has staff specifically dedicated to assisting any business
interested in exploring the possibility of filing an antidumping
(AD) and/or countervailing duty (CVD) petition. Over one-half of
the all cases brought before IA are by small- and medium-sized businesses.
These companies normally do not have the resources to obtain representation
and assistance from experienced trade counsel in petitioning the
Department to initiate an investigation.
IA staff works extensively with small businesses on a regular
basis to help them understand U.S. trade laws concerning dumping
and unfair foreign government subsidies. IA staff will meet with
prospective petitioners, either at the Commerce Department or, in
some cases, on-site at the petitioner's production facilities, and
will provide assistance to help bring a potential petition into
compliance with statutory initiation standards. IA advises the petitioning
industry throughout the investigation process in terms of procedural
IA works closely with small- and medium-sized producers in the
agricultural sector, providing them with advice and guidance on
trade remedy assistance. Some of the producers IA has assisted include
those in the sectors of garlic, honey, mushrooms, grapes and tomatoes.
Recently, IA assisted a pro se (self-represented) company in filing
a dumping petition on live cultivated blue mussels from Canada.
IA conducted an informational session (hosted by the Congressional
delegations of Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama) as
part of seminar for U.S. catfish producers concerned with rapidly
IA also monitors cases filed against U.S. exporters in order to
assist these companies with the procedural and technical requirements
that must be met when responding to foreign AD and CVD investigations,
Let me close by saying that, together, we have some tough work
ahead of us. That is true of the work we have to do abroad in opening
new markets to help SMEs achieve their export potential while
SMEs account for 97 percent of exporters, their share of U.S. merchandise
exports hovers around 30 percent. This is also true of the work
we have to do here at home in setting the stage for further trade
liberalization by the renewal of trade promotion authority.
One of my top goals as the Under Secretary for International Trade
is to promote job creation, economic growth, sustainable development
and improved living standards for all Americans. Helping small-
and medium-sized companies export is key to this. To compete and
succeed in a global arena, I believe that we must reach out to all
communities and businesses to ensure that they are aware of the
opportunities that are available to them. Last week, I traveled
to Los Angeles to speak at a conference sponsored by the Minority
Business Development Administration to underscore that point.
Thank you again for inviting me to testify. I welcome ideas about
how we can continue to improve the workings of the International
Trade Administration to reach out to a greater cross-section of
small businesses. Just as we must continually push for trade liberalization
so that we do not fall behind the competition, we must keep improving
our institutions. I look forward to your questions and invite you
to help us as we undergo our benchmarking exercise.