[The following information was taken from a press release issued by the Congressman's office].
The Export Promotion Reform Act introduced by Rep. Howard Berman strengthening U.S. export promotion programs passed the U.S. House of Representatives today.
The bill is designed to increase exports of American made goods and services by strengthening the overall coordination of export promotion programs in the United States. It will help U.S. businesses export products abroad more efficiently, while creating jobs for American workers.
“We must create advantages for American workers and businesses to compete overseas,” said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village). “Reforming export promotion programs help American workers do what they do best – compete against foreign manufacturers and win.”
The legislation, co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) is supported by the Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, National Foreign Trade Council, Business Roundtable, and Coalition for Employment Through Exports.
Currently, there are 17 federal agencies with export promotion programs, but they are not adequately coordinated or directed toward the best export markets. The Berman bill corrects that problem and makes more effective use of the taxpayer dollars spent on export promotion, cutting down on red tape and inefficiencies.
The Berman bill is based on recommendations from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) which has determined that U.S. export promotion programs are less effective than programs in other countries. In the latest Census, some 366,000 U.S. firms reported they are exporters, more than 95% of which are small- and medium-sized businesses. GAO found that effective export promotion programs are an important competitive factor in global trade competition.
In Los Angeles County, $51 billion in goods and services are sold overseas, which support 516,000 jobs, or 9% of the 3.8 million country workforce, according to the Los Angeles Area Economic Development Council. Statewide, some 60,000 firms sell $143 billion in goods and services overseas each year.
For a summary of the Export Promotion Reform Act, click here .
Rep. Berman’s floor statement in support of H.R. 4041, the Export Promotion Reform Act, as prepared for delivery appears below:
Mr. Speaker/Chairman, the Export Promotion Reform Act is a bi-partisan bill that all Members can support. The gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Manzullo, and I introduced this legislation to help increase the export of American-made goods and American-provided services.
The provisions of H.R. 4041 would implement recommendations by the Governmental Accountability Office to make more effective use of our export promotion programs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill does not authorize any new programs, nor does it add any new spending, or new mandates. [I ask unanimous consent to include the CBO analysis at this point in the Record.]
The bill would make sound, practical improvements for our nation’s exporters and workers, while exercising fiscal prudence on behalf of the American taxpayer.
As a measure of its bi-partisan appeal, the bill was approved on a voice vote by the Foreign Affairs Committee, with the support of the Chairman, the gentle-lady from Florida, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. I thank her for bringing this bill to the House.
The improvements made by this bill would benefit many of the nation’s 293,000 exporting firms – more than 97% of which are small- and medium sized businesses.
The bill has been endorsed by 5 national organizations that represent most of the nation’s exporters:
--The Chamber of Commerce
--The National Association of Manufacturers
--The National Foreign Trade Council
--The Business Roundtable, and
--the Coalition for Employment Through Exports.
[I ask unanimous consent that the letters of support from these organizations be included in the Record at this point.]
As a company increases its sales to overseas customers, new jobs for American workers are created. The U.S. International Trade Administration estimates that, on average, 5,800 American jobs are supported by $1 billion in exports.
Global trade flows are recovering from the 2009 recession levels, and last year reached $22 trillion. However, the U.S. market share has dropped from 9.8% in 2003 to 8.1% in 2011. Over the same period, the U.S. has dropped from first place to third place (behind China and Germany) in exporting. The bottom line is that U.S. exports are increasing, but not as fast as overall world trade.
The data are clear: U.S. firms have renewed opportunities for growth – and increased employment -- through increased sales overseas. However, the competition in world trade is fierce. This is where the improvements made by this bill would make a difference.
All major trading nations operate programs on behalf of their nations’ exporters. Some are more effective than the U.S. programs, according to the GAO. The inefficiency in our export promotion programs is one factor in the U.S. loss of market share in world trade. Even though there has been an increase in the number of U.S. firms competing in world markets,
GAO has told us – repeatedly – that our 17 export promotion programs would be more effective with improved coordination. That requires elimination of duplicative activities, filling the gaps in exporter services and targeting the programs where the best growth markets are for U.S. goods and services. In particular, GAO found that strengthening the interagency Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) would improve the effectiveness of U.S. export promotion programs.
H.R. 4041 would make changes in 3 areas.
First, it would require a global plan to identify the best market openings for increasing sales of U.S. goods and services, and require that:
--export promotion resources be deployed to help our exporters find customers,
--deal with foreign Customs and other trade rules and
--act as advocates with foreign governments.
Second, it requires coordination of the federal programs, budgets and resource allocations, to:
--fill unmet needs, and
--improve service delivery to exporters.
And third, it would require our ambassadors to develop country-by-country commercial diplomacy plans aimed at increasing U.S. exports. It would require that the annual performance reviews of ambassadors include the effectiveness of their commercial diplomacy.
Mr. Speaker/Chairman, in addition to implementing a series of GAO recommendations, our bill is consistent with President Obama’s two Executive Orders on increasing exports and the Agency Memorandum he issued.
It is also consistent with a bi-partisan report issued last October by the Council on Foreign Relations, on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy, and it is consistent with recommendations made by the President’s Jobs Council.
I believe that all members can support the Export Promotion Reform Act.