The panel discussed two recently published surveys on small business engagement in exporting conducted by EXIM, the National Small Business Association and SBA; challenges and opportunities for SMEs; innovative ideas to enhance export assistance; and how best to promote U.S. SME participation in global markets.
Challenges cited in the surveys include the limited scope of exporting businesses eligible for export financing, minimal access to financing for those exporters who do qualify, lack of digital marketing used to spread helpful information and expand relationships, and the biggest barrier -- general lack of knowledge on export mechanics and simply where to start. More training programs, export education resources, and better awareness and marketing for training and resources currently available to SMEs are needed to increase the number of U.S. SMEs exporting. At the market level, panelists and participants noted that exporters continue to raise concerns over reduced number of Commercial Service officers available to assist U.S. exporters, and that the proliferation of standards and requirements that are often disparate and not harmonized are making cross-border trade a daunting endeavor for even experienced exporters. The panel also discussed the shift in U.S. trade policy priorities over the past several years with national security as a driver on economic and trade policy as well the view of China as an increasing economic threat.
The National Association of District Export Councils has called for modernizing and increasing trade-specialized staff at the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Services, as well as promoting public-private partnerships focused on export strategy . New and ongoing support for SMEs’ export initiatives and promotion of government-provided resources is critical for the United States as it strives to strengthen U.S. domestic industry and U.S. presence in emerging markets around the world. SMEs that export grow faster, add more jobs, and pay higher wages . These qualities encourage the empowerment of American workers, as well as strengthen the United States’ position in global markets.
To learn more, please read “U.S. exporters plead for more help” from Doug Palmer at Politico. We appreciate the increased awareness Politico raises on challenges of exporting for SMEs in the United States.
 “How Small Business Drive the American Economy.” 25 March 2022. Forbes.
 “Project to Address the Total Addressable Market for Small Business Exporters.” SBA.
 “The U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service: A Necessary Tool to Increase U.S. Exports and Support the Biden-Harris ‘Build Back Better’ Strategy.” NADEC.
 “Small Business.” United States Trade Representative.