Trade agreement good for small businesses

Betsy Markey
Betsy Markey

While small businesses represent the majority of United States exporters, their export sales represent less than a third of the overall value of exports. And while 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of our borders, only 1 percent of U.S. small businesses sell to them.

Small businesses make up nearly 98 percent of exporters in the U.S. Small Business Administration region I administer — six states that include Colorado. Exporting can be profitable for businesses of all sizes. On average, sales grow faster, more jobs are created and employees earn more than at
non-exporting firms. A recent Commerce International Trade Administration state report shows how critical exporting is in each state across the nation.

The power of exporting will only be increased with the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

TPP would unlock additional opportunities for U.S. small businesses that constitute the backbone of the economy. By addressing trade barriers that are particularly challenging for small businesses to overcome, TPP allows our small businesses to reach new markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Additionally, TPP will help more small businesses by eliminating 18,000 taxes and tariffs that deter many firms from considering foreign markets.

If ratified by Congress, TPP would open doors for small businesses that otherwise remain closed. The TPP would be the first trade agreement that incorporates a chapter regarding American small and medium-sized enterprises.  The chapter bolsters substantive commitments on such issues as customs and trade facilitation, e-commerce and others by providing readily accessible information to small and medium-sized enterprises on the opportunities TPP offers. The TPP gives them an ongoing means to engage with governments on ways to improve the agreement to benefit small- and medium-sized enterprises.

By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s middle class consumers are expected to live in the Asia-Pacific region. The Internet and e-commerce has opened up a new world of opportunity for small businesses to sell to those consumers with the click of a mouse. TPP would help them realize that promise.

Opponents of the deal contend increased global trade moves jobs overseas. For our small business sector — which creates two out of three new jobs in our country — just the opposite is true.

According to a study conducted by the Institute for International Economics, exporting firms not only grow faster, but they’re also less likely to go out of business than non-exporting companies. Moreover, businesses that export pay up to
18 percent more than companies that don’t.

Overall, the TPP levels the playing field for American workers and American businesses, leading to more made-in-America exports and more higher-paying jobs here at home.

Ratifying the  TPP would help small businesses share their ingenuity with a wide world of waiting consumers who believe in the American brand, keeping alive that intrepid entrepreneurial spirit that makes this nation so great.