Small Business Group Praises Passage of Trade Agreements

Washington, D.C. (Press Release – October 13, 2011) – The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) praised House passage of three long-standing trade deals that President Barack Obama recently sent to Congress. The trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea are a welcome development for the struggling economy and present new opportunities for small businesses, according to SBE Council.

“Small to mid-size businesses are increasingly looking abroad for growth opportunities.  Hopefully the passage of these important trade accords will reignite efforts to strike new agreements as increased trade is key to driving U.S. economic growth. Small businesses are big players in trade, and they benefit as suppliers to large companies that are able to expand because of favorable trade agreements,” said SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

As noted by SBE Council, 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.

And trade is not just about big business. As noted by the Small Business Administration’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.”  In a recent study, the Business Roundtable 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.

It’s also critical to keep in mind that the main effect of these 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. In a letter to all U.S. House members that urged passage of the agreements, SBE Council spelled out these benefits.

Raymond J. Keating, SBE Council chief economist, observed: “Congress passing these trade deals – and by such overwhelming margins – is a much-needed, refreshing change in the direction of public policy. For nearly four years now, policymaking has largely been about raising costs on businesses and erecting barriers to economic opportunity. Reducing trade barriers with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will be plusses for U.S. entrepreneurs, businesses of all sizes, and workers. Expanding trade has been central to U.S. economic growth for decades, and it’s encouraging to see elected officials on both sides of the political aisle vote for these pro-growth accords.”

SBE Council is a nationwide small business advocacy, research and networking organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. For more information, please visit:

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