UPS survey: Small business needs help understanding global trade

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Updated Dec 29, 2011

America’s political leaders have recognized the importance of U.S. exports to the economy and just recently approved three free trade agreements, but a new survey shows more needs to be done to educate small-and mid-sized businesses on the potential of engaging in global trade.

The UPS “Perceptions of Global Trade” survey of more than 1,000 SMBs, conducted for UPS, found that 24 percent of the nation’s small and medium-sized businesses currently are engaged in global commerce. Those SMBs who don’t export any of their products say the dour economic news of recent years has discouraged them, “but that’s exactly why SMBs should be expanding to international markets,” sats Dan Brutto, president of UPS International.

As part of that support, the U.S. National Export Initiative aims to boost exports from $1.57 trillion in 2009 to $3.14 trillion by 2015 by eliminating trade barriers and increasing access to export financing, among other measures. A large bipartisan majority in Congress recently approved three new free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. President Obama signed the new accords on Oct. 21.

“With 95 percent of the world’s consumers located beyond U.S. borders, it’s clear that the path to economic growth is through opening new markets for U.S. businesses,” Brutto says. “This survey tells me that all of us in a leadership position need to step up our efforts to support and educate small-business owners in particular on the potential of markets outside the United States.”