U.S. Senators George LeMieux (R-FL) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced today that their legislation, the Export Promotion Act, was included in the Small Business Jobs bill that passed the full Senate. The bipartisan bill would help small- and medium-sized businesses promote their products overseas.
"Instead of exporting jobs, we need to export more goods. This will help small businesses achieve that goal," LeMieux said. "Despite Florida's flagging economy, those businesses involved in exports are flourishing. I commend Senator Klobuchar for her work and focus on this issue."
"Exporting is literally a world of opportunity, and in an increasingly competitive global economy, it is important that small businesses have access to the information and tools that will help them capitalize on potential opportunities in foreign markets," Klobuchar said. "This bill will help promote Minnesota businesses in foreign markets and by doing so, will increase revenue, create jobs, and drive economic growth."
U.S. exports currently support more than six million jobs in manufacturing and one million jobs in agriculture. Businesses that export pay their employees 13-to-18 percent more and are 8 percent more likely to stay in business than are companies that do not export. However, less than one percent of U.S. businesses take advantage of exporting, and of those that do export, 60 percent limit themselves to only one foreign country.
The LeMieux-Klobuchar provisions would connect businesses with export promotion and outreach resources through the Department of Commerce to help them expand into new markets and increase their bottom lines. Officials in the department's International Trade Administration have expertise in helping small businesses navigate their way into new markets abroad. More than 95 percent of the world's customers are located outside the United States, and recently, 30 percent of U.S. businesses indicated that they would be interested in exporting but did not know where to begin.
The Export Promotion Act would also expand the outreach program through the department's Rural Export Initiative (REI) to ensure that small- and medium-sized businesses located in rural areas know about available export-promotion services. In 2006 alone, the REI helped rural American businesses generate over $183 million in exports with an investment of $860,000 -- a return of approximately $213 on each dollar.
The Export Promotion Act was incorporated into the Senate's substitute amendment to the Small Business Jobs bill, which is intended help small businesses access capital, stimulate investment through tax incentives, and promote entrepreneurship.