To support trade policy and trade promotion initiatives, the Office of the US Trade Representative, the US Department of Commerce and the US Department of Agriculture have established trade advisory committees to solicit input from interested stakeholders, including small- and medium-sized exporters.
The trade advisory committee system is yet another way for US SME exporters to provide direct input and technical, practical commercial advice to trade negotiators and trade promotion agencies on ways to assist US SMEs in overseas markets and to increase export sales opportunities for US SMEs.
Shawn Marie Jarosz, President of TradeMoves, sits on two advisory committees: the Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Small and Minority Businesses (ITAC 11) and the Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee for Processed Foods. “I am small business owner who exports consulting services on trade, customs and regulatory issues to clients in the processed food sector and in the ICT industry,” said Shawn. “It is important to my business that Commerce, Agriculture and USTR are aware of barriers to trade for TradeMoves and TradeMoves’ clients – whether big or small, whether a manufacturer or service provider.”
All the ITACs and ATACs welcome and encourage small business participation. Small business representatives should get involved in the appropriate advisory committee that suits their company’s needs. Whether it is a sector-specific committee or a subject-matter committee (such as standards, IPR or customs), SMEs should consider giving their time and expertise to advise USTR, Commerce and / or Agriculture on trade barriers to their goods and services. For instance, ITAC 11 currently has forty-three members from around the United States and is able to have up to fifty SME representatives. In addition, there is a real need for SMEs on the IPR ITAC (ITAC 15). The ATAC for processed foods currently has twenty members, including many SME representatives.
Small exporters should insert themselves into trade policy discussions and trade agreement deliberations to ensure their company’s priorities are taken into consideration. While SMEs and larger non-SMEs may share some negotiating objectives, in many cases, SMEs need more or better resources to enter a market, secure financing, facilitate customs clearance at the borders, protect intellectual property, and address non-tariff barriers than their larger-company counterparts.
Those who are already active in their District Export Councils (DECs) are very good candidates for ITACs and ATACs. Even if not a DEC member, if your small- or medium-sized business is exporting and is facing barriers in overseas markets that need to be addressed, come to the table with suggestions and ideas to work with the US Government to get them resolved. “We encourage US SME exporters to become actively involved as trade advisors,” recommended Shawn. “It is a unique opportunity for SME representatives to engage directly with US Government experts who are charged with helping US exporters sell more products in foreign markets and finding solutions to remove barriers to US exports.”
Shawn Marie Jarosz / SJarosz@TradeMoves.net / 202-415-4016