SBEA Member Testifies Before Congress on Exporting

On Feb. 28,  SBEA member and past NSBA chair Raymond Arth of Avon Lake, Ohio testified before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade at a hearing titled, “Small Business Trade Agenda: Opportunities in the 113th Congress.” Arth is president and CEO of Phoenix Products, Inc., a faucet manufacturing company in operation since 1977, who has recently entered into the exporting arena.

Testifying on behalf of SBEA and NSBA, Arth described for the committee the last four years in which he’s actively pursued exporting partnerships specifically in Mexico, but has encountered countless hurdles and has yet to secure a contract for his goods.

“Developing foreign markets is a challenge, especially for a small firm with limited human and financial resources,” stated Arth. “With more than twenty federal departments and agencies playing some role in international trade, there is no shortage of help out there, but it may not be the best fit for smaller exporters like myself.”

Underscoring the broad economic value in bolstering small-business exporting, Arth went on to state that the largest untapped resource for American exports is small and medium-size companies. Just over one percent, or 287,000, of the approximately 27.9 million small businesses in the U.S. currently export.

As highlighted in Arth’s testimony, some of the top barriers for small exporters are: problems identifying foreign business opportunities and federal export assistance resources; limited information on how to analyze foreign regulations and contact potential foreign customers; and the need for external financing in order to undertake an export transaction.

To address these and other key challenges, Arth recommended lawmakers support export finance programs such as the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., pursue Free Trade Agreements to ease the trade barrier and regulatory complexity, and increase and improve coordination between the various federal, state and local trade agencies.

Please click here to read the full testimony.