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Small Business Export Growth Act improves export assistance programs for small businesses

(Washington, D.C.) – On the first day of the 114th Congress, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) reintroduced the Small Business Export Growth Act, bipartisan legislation that supports small businesses and helps them capitalize on export opportunities by removing red tape and improving federal export assistance programs. The New Hampshire Senators originally crafted the legislation in response to industry feedback at their 2011 Small Business Committee field hearing.

“Exporting represents a tremendous opportunity for small businesses in New Hampshire,” said Shaheen, a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “If we make it easier for small businesses to reach foreign markets, we can help them expand, create jobs, and grow our economy as a whole. This bipartisan bill builds on recommendations from New Hampshire small businesses to improve federal export assistance programs and further help small businesses sell their products overseas. It’s a bill that will produce real results and we ought to act on it quickly."

"New Hampshire small businesses can grow and create more jobs by exporting goods and services overseas, and our bipartisan legislation would improve coordination between regulatory agencies and reduce obstacles faced by small businesses seeking to boost export opportunities,” said Ayotte, who is rejoining the Small Business Committee. “This is a common sense measure that will help small business owners better navigate the complexities of exporting their products so they can better compete in the global marketplace.”

The Small Business Export Growth Act specifically works to improve the coordination between federal and state agencies and expands outreach efforts to better inform small businesses about federal resources and export opportunities.

The bill’s provisions would:

-Encourage greater coordination between state and federal resources by creating a working group on the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) to streamline efforts among state and federal export promotion and assistance agencies;

-Maximize efficiency of export programs by directing the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) to identify opportunities to consolidate unnecessary government offices;

-Require the Small Business Administration to conduct greater outreach to small businesses, including export events in each state, about the opportunities in exporting and federal resources available for small businesses;

-Require the Small Business Administration to survey businesses about ways to improve the website to ensure it serves as a comprehensive resource for small businesses;

-Direct the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Commerce to prepare an annual report on the TPCC’s ability to carry out its duties; and,

-Require the TPCC to incorporate recommendations from the Government Accountability Office – including those pertaining to eliminating duplication and overlap.

The bill will now be referred to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.