October 23, 2009
News Release 09-087
Inv. No. 332-508
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819


Independent Agency Begins First of Three Studies for the U.S. Trade Representative

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has launched the first of three studies that will examine the extent and composition of U.S. exports by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and factors that may disproportionately impede U.S. SME exports.

The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will conduct the investigations in response to a request from the U.S. Trade Representative, received in a letter on October 6, 2009.

As requested by the USTR, the first report, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Overview of Participation in U.S. Exports, will survey all available data regarding U.S. exports by SMEs and identify gaps in the existing data. The report will describe the characteristics of SMEs, their exports, and their role in generating employment and economic activity in the U.S. economy. As far as possible, the report will also provide information on SME exports by product and sector, large markets for those exports, and trends over time. The USITC expects to deliver the first report to the USTR by January 12, 2010.

The USITC will not hold a public hearing in connection with the first study, but it welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions (one original and 14 copies) should be addressed to the Secretary of the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, and should be submitted at the earliest practical date, but no later than 5:15 p.m. on November 17, 2009. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection. Further information on the scope of the first investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the USITC's notice of investigation, dated October 23, 2009, which can be obtained from the USITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at 202-205-2000.

The second report in this series will compare the exporting activity of SMEs in the United States and the European Union, examine barriers to exporting noted by U.S. SMEs and SME strategies to overcome special constraints and reduce trade costs, and identify the benefits to SMEs from increased export opportunities, including those arising from free trade agreements and other trading arrangements. The USITC expects to deliver the second report to the USTR by July 6, 2010.

The third report will examine U.S. SMEs engaged in providing services, including the characteristics of firms that produce tradable services, growth in services exports, and the differences between SME and large services exporters. It will also examine U.S. goods and services exports by SMEs and identify trade barriers that may disproportionately affect SME export performance, as well as possible linkages between exporting and SME performance. In addition, the report will identify how data gaps might be overcome to enhance our understanding of SMEs in service sector exports. The USITC expects to deliver the third report to the USTR by October 6, 2010.

Information concerning hearings, written submissions, and other details related to the second and third studies will be provided when those investigations are formally initiated.

USITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subject investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the USITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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