Graves’ bills to improve small business trade opportunities advance in House

The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently approved measures offered by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) that are designed to improve small business trade opportunities.

Graves, the chairman of the House Small Business Committee, introduced legislation in May that would reduce some of the key barriers and obstacles faced by small business exporters. Called the Export Coordination Act, it would also established stronger congressional oversight and coordination of the 20-plus federal export promotion agencies.

Graves’ legislation was merged with Rep. Eliot Engel’s (D-N.Y.) Export Promotion Reform Act during a subcommittee markup on Friday. Additional provisions of the Export Coordination Act were added during the full committee markup.

The committee also approved the State Trade Coordination Act that was cosponsored by Graves. The proposed legislation would establish the framework to ensure that federal and state trade agencies work in unison to assist their local exporters.

Both bills reported out of the committee in unanimous voice votes.

“Expanding into world markets is a big challenge for small firms with limited resources, so Washington should do more to make the process simpler,” Graves said. “A recent National Small Business Association study found that nearly 50 percent of small exporters spend at least a few months preparing to export, and spend an average of 8.4 percent of that year’s operating revenue on those preparations.”

Graves said his legislation would help streamline the export process and provide better coordination among the federal export promotion agencies.