April 26, 2006 Committee on Small Business Hearing
Good afternoon, I am pleased to open this hearing on the important topic of
trade promotion and the extent to which the diverse U.S. programs can be
coordinated to materially enhance small business exports, which offer a key tool
to help reduce our trade deficit.
Cutting Our Trade Deficit: Can the U.S. Muster
Its Diverse Trade Promotion Operations to Make an Impact?
Opening Remarks of Chairman Donald A. Manzullo and
I welcome our seven witnesses, who bring real practical experience to addressing
this question of how we can do a better job at trade promotion.
With the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services running approximately $65
billion or more per month, so far in 2006, the U.S. is well on its way to break
the 2005 record annual trade deficit of $724 billion. So far this year, through
the end of February, the accumulated U.S. trade deficit with China, alone, is
somewhat worse, totaling $31.75 billion, up $2.63 billion from the same period
Equally threatening is the U.S. dependence on the inflow of foreign capital to
finance these deficits through the purchase of Federal debt instruments, which
in turn lend support for a strong dollar that continues this deficit to debt
Congress, in the Export Enhancement Act of 1992, established the Trade Promotion
Coordinating Committee (TPCC) with two main purposes:
--Providing a unifying framework to coordinate the export promotion and export
financing activities of the U.S. Government; and
--Developing a government-wide strategic plan for carrying out federal export
promotion and export financing programs.
Two of the key duties assigned the TPCC were to:
--Assess the appropriate levels and allocation of resources among agencies in
support of export promotion and export financing and provide recommendations to
--Coordinate official trade promotion efforts to ensure better delivery of
services to U.S. businesses.
Over the past 14 years, TPCC has had mixed results in fulfilling its
Congressional mandates. Without clear budgetary influence or a strong will to
exert oversight authority of the numerous federal entities that make up its
members, currently totaling 21, the TPCC’s impact on unifying the diverse U.S.
trade promotion and finance operations has been negligible.
Our trading partners are well organized and effectively market their small
businesses in the expanding global markets, particularly in China. With small
businesses offering the best prospect to boost export growth, we need to
redouble our efforts to help them achieve this goal.
It is time the U.S. put some order into its federal trade promotion and
financing operations through strengthening the TPCC by:
--Elevating the TPCC to an Executive Office of the President level operation;
--Providing TPCC with budgetary input authority over the federal trade promotion
and finance operations;
--Staffing TPCC directly or through detailed assignments to effectively perform
oversight of the U.S. trade operations; and
--Linking the National Export Strategy with verifiable performance benchmarks to
the annual federal budget submission.
I now yield for an opening statement from the ranking minority Member,
Representative Velázquez of New York.