SBE Council sent a letter to all U.S. House members, urging passage of three important trade deals that President Obama recently sent to Congress. In the letter, SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan explained that the Trade Promotion Agreements (TPAs) with Columbia, Panama and Korea will "open global opportunities for entrepreneurs."
Trade plays a critical role in the U.S. economy. Export growth accounted for 14.8 percent of GDP growth from 1990 to 2010, and growth in total trade (exports plus imports) equaled 34.5 percent of economic growth over the same period. Trade is not just about big business. As noted by the SBA's Office of Advocacy, small firms (with fewer than 500 workers) accounted for "97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 30.2 percent of the known export value in FY 2007."
Kerrigan also pointed out in her letter the findings of a Business Roundtable study, which found that new trade agreements generating $1 billion in new exports by U.S. multinationals would boost their input purchases from U.S. small businesses by approximately $174 million.
Lowering barriers to trade would be a welcome development for our economy, and for small businesses and their employees who are looking for new opportunities abroad. The main effect of the trade deals is to reduce barriers in Colombia, Panama and South Korea to U.S. exports, as U.S. trade barriers already are quite low. Reducing trade barriers means expanding opportunity for U.S. firms of all sizes and their workforce.
"Votes for the Colombia, Panama and South Korea trade agreements are votes for small business," Kerrigan concluded.
Hopefully, passage of these trade deals will help the U.S. re-establish its leadership in the global trade arena. If the U.S. wants to maintain its economic leadership, it must become more proactive in pursuing and facilitating new trade agreements.
Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO