U.S. Rep. Howard Berman's bipartisan bill strengthening U.S. export promotion programs, helping American firms compete overseas while creating new jobs for American workers at home, was approved unanimously today by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The bill, the Export Promotion Reform Act, H.R. 4041, is designed to increase exports of American made goods and services by strengthening the overall coordination of export promotion programs in the United States.
"Exports of American-made goods and services to markets overseas create jobs for our workers at home," said Rep. Berman. "When American businesses based in the San Fernando Valley and beyond can expand beyond our shores, our hardworking families win."
In Los Angeles County, $51 billion in goods and services are sold overseas, which support 516,000 jobs, or 9% of the 3.8 million country workforce, according to the Los Angeles Area Economic Development Council. Statewide, some 60,000 firms sell $143 billion in goods and services overseas each year.
Currently, there are 17 federal agencies with export promotion programs, but they are not adequately coordinated or directed toward the best export markets. The Berman bill corrects that problem and makes more effective use of the taxpayer dollars spent on export promotion, cutting down on red tape and inefficiencies.
The Berman bill is based on recommendations from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) which has determined that U.S. export promotion programs are less effective than programs in other countries. In the latest Census, some 366,000 U.S. firms reported they are exporters, more than 95% of which are small- and medium-sized businesses. GAO found that effective export promotion programs are an important competitive factor in global trade competition.