More than a quarter million American small businesses export from across all fifty states. They sell U.S. products and services around the world – thereby increasing their revenues, broadening and diversifying their customer base, and supporting good jobs in their communities. A particular priority of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) is to expand exports by small businesses. This will contribute to his goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 in order to support two million additional jobs for American workers. We invite more small and medium-sized businesses to join us in this national effort to grow our economy through exports. To help do that, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration have unveiled a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Tariff Tool. This is a free online tool available to businesses and the public for the first time.
The new FTA Tariff Tool empowers the user to perform, instantly and at a glance, searches for tariff treatment for specific industrial products under each U.S. FTA. This will help small manufacturers with planning to enter into new export markets. The tool also enables the user to access market and sector reports and other FTA-related information useful for small businesses seeking new opportunities to sell goods and services abroad.
As a small business owner, manager, or employee seeking to begin or expand your exports, which foreign markets should you consider? Some markets are easier to do business in than others. U.S. FTA partner markets are a very good place to start looking. Most U.S. small firms begin by selling to our North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico. However, the United States is a party to 17 FTAs with partners around the world, like the five Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) and the Dominican Republic, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Australia, and Morocco. Agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama are pending. Small and medium-sized businesses represent the vast majority of U.S. exporting companies to these countries.
Trade agreements have helped to open the door to American small business exports with key partners around the world. This new FTA Tariff Tool will empower many more small and medium-sized firms to take advantage of these trade opportunities. Go to http://www.export.gov/FTA/FTATariffTool/ to discover cost-saving tariff reductions for your product, and consider an FTA market for your next foreign sale.