May is World Trade Month 2018, a time for celebrating companies that export goods and services around the world, and for highlighting the expanded opportunities international trade can bring to companies of all shapes and sizes.
The educational focal point of World Trade Month is World Trade Week. Established in 1935 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the third week of May is dedicated to educating the public about the importance and benefits of global trade to the local and national economies. Many business organizations across the country host educational programs and events to help further the public’s understanding of this vital facet of commerce.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 27 million companies in the U.S., and slightly more than 10 percent of them export goods. In 2017, those companies exported $1.54 trillion dollars’ worth of goods, up from $1.45 trillion in 2016. And even more impressive is the fact that 97.6 percent of those companies were small or medium sized businesses, with fewer than 500 employees.
Whether your company is among them, or is currently contemplating joining their ranks, there is assistance available in negotiating a landscape that can seem extremely daunting.
As part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the International Trade Administration is charged with helping U.S. exporters and workers success in the global marketplace. Its functions include promoting exports, attracting investment and leveling the playing field. In 2016, the ITA assisted over 28,000 U.S. companies that wanted to play on the world stage, enabled $59 billion in U.S. exports, facilitated more than $5.3 billion in foreign investment into the United States, and successfully removed, reduced, or prevented 110 foreign trade barriers. In total, its work supported more than 300,000 American jobs that year alone.
Working closely with businesses and their leaders, the ITA helps U.S. businesses tap into global markets in ways they may not have been able to otherwise.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is another important partner which provides resources to assist small businesses in reaching the global marketplace. The SBA’s export loan program helps small businesses access the financing they need to sell their goods and services in the global arena. In 2016, the SBA provided over $1.5 billion in guaranteed loans to small business exporters which supported over $3.3 billion in export sales.
In addition, SBA works closely with the U.S. Commercial Service and the U.S. Export-Import Bank of the United States to provide potential and existing exporters with a unified, one-stop approach to export expansion through 21 U.S. Export Assistance Centers nationwide.
To help area companies expand their business through export opportunities, EDC-VC’s Small Business Development Center of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties launched its own Export Initiative in June 2011. It provides free one-on-one consulting with SBDC consultants who specialize in exporting, and training seminars for businesses interested in accessing export opportunities or expanding existing international exports.
If your business is in Ventura County or Santa Barbara County and you are interested in exploring international trade opportunities, contact the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County to set up an appointment. Conveniently located in Camarillo, California, we’re here to help!
Sources: sba.gov, Trade.gov