February 16, 2012

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Velazquez Works to Boost Small Business Exports

February 15, 2012

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Small businesses in New York and around the country may soon have additional tools to market their products abroad if Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY) has her way.  As the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Small Business, Velazquez today introduced H.R. 3976, new legislation aimed at facilitating the participation of small firms in international trade.  The measure, entitled the "Enhancing Exports through Entrepreneurship Act of 2012," creates new opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to market their products abroad.

"Selling American goods and services overseas translates directly into good-paying jobs here at home," Velazquez said.  "Many entrepreneurs would like to compete globally, but find it difficult to take the first steps.  This legislation offers resources they need to start selling and marketing their products internationally."

Many provisions contained in the legislation are the product of a small business exporting workshop the Congresswoman hosted in the Lower East Side this past November.  During that session, a number of New York entrepreneurs discussed how costly it is for small firms to begin exporting.  Hurdles like shipping expenses, market research and compliance costs often dissuade small companies from competing globally.  H.R. 3976 would assist New York City firms with overcoming these barriers by offering tax credits to offset the costs of exporting to foreign countries.  Under the bill, small firms can qualify for tax credits worth up to 25 percent of such expenditures, potentially saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars.    

"For small companies that are starting to market abroad, the upfront costs are significant," Velazquez noted.  "By providing targeted tax relief and new financing options, we can help entrepreneurs bridge the gap between when they begin selling their product abroad and when their overseas ventures pay for themselves."

Small businesses interested in exporting their products would also enjoy new financing options through the legislation.  Under the bill, the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation would boost their lending and investment to small firms.  Over the last five years, the Export-Import bank made more than $750 million available to New York's small businesses seeking to market their products abroad.   Velazquez's legislation would expand and build on those types of investments. 

"Access to capital is always a challenge for small companies, but for businesses that are taking on the new risk of shipping their product into new, foreign markets, it can be particularly daunting," Velazquez noted.  "With this bill we're telling firms intent on exporting their product: we will ensure you have viable financing options." 

In addition to assisting small firms with revenue and capital needs, small businesses would benefit from technical assistance provisions in the bill.  By making export-related information available through local resource centers like Women's Business Centers, SCORE Chapters and Veteran Business Outreach Centers, entrepreneurs would easily obtain information such as demand for various goods and tariff schedules.   

With 95% of consumers living outside the U.S., foreign markets present significant opportunities for U.S. firms.  Already, trade is a vital source of jobs and commercial activity in New York with the NYC metropolitan area accounting for $70 billion in exported merchandise annually, the most of any metropolitan area in the country.   Small businesses currently account for about 30 percent of U.S. exports and H.R. 3976 would help more small firms compete globally, find new customers and create jobs domestically. 

CONTACT: Alex Haurek
(202) 225-2361

SOURCE Representative Nydia M. Velazquez, Ranking Member, House Committee on Small Business

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