The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) will hold a public hearing in St. Louis, Missouri, in connection with two ongoing investigations into 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 hearing will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 10, 2010, at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, One South Broadway, St. Louis, Missouri.
The hearing is being held to gather factual information for use by the Commission in preparing two reports for the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), who is the President's cabinet-level official concerning international trade matters.
In requesting the reports, the USTR expressly asked the USITC to gather information for these reports directly from SME exporters and SMEs with an interest in exporting. Given that many SMEs do not have the resources to travel to Washington, the USITC Commissioners decided to hold two regional public hearings to supplement the extensive staff field work, the Washington, DC, public hearing, and other investigative activities that these investigations will involve. In addition to the hearing in St. Louis, the Commission will hold a hearing in Portland, OR, on Friday, March 12, 2010.
The two investigations that are the subject of the hearing are Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: U.S. and EU Export Activities, and Barriers and Opportunities Experienced By U.S. Firms (Inv. No. 332-509) and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Characteristics and Performance (Inv. No. 332- 510). Detailed information on these investigations can be found on the USITC web site at http://www.usitc.gov/press_room/field_hearing.htm.
At its St. Louis hearing, the USITC is seeking information from midwestern SMEs concerning:
the most significant constraints that U.S. SMEs face in their efforts to export;
the strategies that SMEs have adopted to address or overcome these constraints;
the benefits to SMEs of increased export opportunities from free trade agreements or other trading arrangements;
the U.S. free trade agreements or other trading arrangements that have been most beneficial to SMEs that export;
the characteristics of SMEs that export services;
how exporting affects SME business performance;
the extent to which U.S. SMEs have global operations; and
how SMEs based in the United States differ in their exporting activities from SMEs based in the European Union and other leading economies.
The Commission wants to receive testimony directly from persons who will not participate in related hearings scheduled to be held in Washington, DC, in early February and Portland, OR, on March 12, 2010.
Requests to appear at the hearing and the names of witnesses should be filed in writing with the Secretary to the Commission no later than 5:15 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Wednesday, February 24, 2010. Written requests should be sent to the Secretary to the Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Persons testifying at the St. Louis hearing are encouraged to file written statements before the hearing; the deadline for filing such statements (one original and 14 copies) is Friday, February 26, 2010. If statements are submitted at the hearing, persons testifying are asked to provide at least 50 copies.
Requests to appear at the hearing should identify the topics to be addressed and the amount of time requested. After receiving these requests, Commission staff will notify participants of their time allotments.
Further information concerning this hearing may be found in the Commission's notice issued on January 27, 2010, which is available on the USITC Internet site at http://www.usitc.gov/secretary/fed_reg_notices/332/332_509_notice01292010sgl.pdf. The notice and additional information can be obtained from a special section of the USITC web site devoted to these investigations at: https://www.usitc.gov/press_room/field_hearing.htm.
Additional information can also be obtained by contacting the the USITC Office of the Secretary at 202- 205-2000 or the project leader for these investigations, Laura Bloodgood, at 202-708-4736, or email@example.com. News media inquiries should be directed to Peg O'Laughlin, Public Affairs Officer, at 202-205-1819, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The USITC also welcomes written submissions for the record in connection with these investigations. Written submissions should be filed with the Secretary to the Commission at the above address and must be received by 5:15 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Friday, March 26, 2010. For information on filing written submissions, see the Commission's notice at https://www.usitc.gov/secretary/fed_reg_notices/332/332_509_notice01292010sgl.pdf.
The U.S. International Trade Commission is an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government, determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries, and directs actions against certain unfair trade practices, such as patent, trademark, and copyright infringement.
The USITC's six Commissioners are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for nine-year terms (unless appointed to fill an unexpired term). No more than three Commissioners may be of any one political party. Currently three Democrats and three Republicans serve as Commissioners. The current Commissioners of the USITC are Shara L. Aranoff (Chairman); Daniel R. Pearson (Vice Chairman); Deanna Tanner Okun; Charlotte R. Lane; Irving A. Williamson; and Dean A. Pinkert. Further information about the Commission and the Commissioners may be found on the USITC's web site at https://www.usitc.gov/press_room/about_usitc.htm.