The International Trade Administration, or ITA, plays a unique role in connecting U.S. companies to trading partners around the world. We are in an excellent position to help our clients, those who create American jobs through trade and investment. Last year, our efforts enabled $59 billion in U.S. exports, facilitated over $5.3 billion in FDI into the United States, and we successfully removed, reduced, or prevented 110 foreign trade barriers. In total, our work supported over 300,000 American jobs in 2016 alone.
The number of women-owned businesses is rapidly increasing in the United States. According to womanable.com, between 2007 and 2016, the number of women owned firms increased by 45%, compared to a 9% increase for all businesses. SMEs make up the vast majority of U.S. companies and approximately half of our GDP, but SMEs represent only 30% of U.S. export value. So exporting has great growth potential. This is good news because businesses that export are nearly 8.5% less likely to go out of business than non-exporting companies. A White House report from 2014 stated that women-owned businesses that export goods and services average $14.5 million in receipts, compared to just $117,036 for women-owned businesses that do not export.
ITA’s network of trade, enforcement, and analytical professionals are located in more than 100 cities across the country and more than 70 countries around the world. We introduce U.S. exporters to potential buyers and distributors; and offer the tailored advice that SMEs, who are the majority of our clients, need to compete and win in foreign markets. We also have a team of counselors that help businesses understand and use U.S. trade laws and agreements to eliminate foreign market barriers and address unfair trade practices.
What this means, as a practical matter, is that we can offer you several services.
First, we help provide U.S. companies, particularly SMEs, with access into new markets; from providing counseling and information, to helping develop a business strategy, to providing services to increase brand awareness in a foreign market. As commercial diplomats, our officers work to identify and reduce trade barriers so that U.S. businesses can expand into new markets.
Second, our client service team connects companies with their next partner, distributor, and ideally their next customers abroad. Our commercial diplomats are stationed overseas to make the kinds of connections that help our clients do business in foreign markets. Our commercial diplomacy efforts extend to creating new relationships and strong contacts for U.S. businesses looking to get a firmer foothold overseas.
The third resource ITA offers is problem-solving in regulatory compliance and standards development. When and if American businesses need guidance to enforce their rights in foreign markets, ITA is there to help. We not only have country experts, but we also have industry sector analysts, in the Industry & Analysis unit, and trade agreement compliance staff, in the Enforcement & Compliance unit.
And fourth we provide customized solutions. Our clients tell us that it is our personal touch that makes the difference. We help U.S. businesses with transactional issues like getting a product through customs, to commercial diplomacy interventions such as breaking down barriers to market entry. Our Advocacy Center plays a critical role for U.S. companies bidding on public-sector contracts with overseas government agencies.
ITA also helps attract foreign investment to the United States through our SelectUSA program, the highlight of which is an annual SelectUSA Summit. This year’s Summit will be held June 18-20 at the Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor, Maryland. If you’re interested in more information on the Summit, please visit the website at http://www.selectusasummit.us/ I hope to see you there!
With our global reach, world-class client services, and readiness to support U.S. businesses in accessing opportunities around the world, we can help NAWBO’s members compete and win new business with general export information and customized solutions as you expand your global reach.
To find out more about how ITA can help your company, please visit us at www.trade.gov.