Small Business

Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, creating two-thirds of all new jobs in recent decades.  Small businesses which export grow faster, add jobs faster, and pay higher wages, accounting for 98 percent of all identified U.S. exporters and supporting nearly four million jobs in communities across America through both direct and indirect exports.  Top export destinations for U.S. small business include Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Tariffs and non-tariff barriers can disproportionately burden the nearly 300,000 U.S. small- and medium-size (SME) businesses exporting to foreign markets.  Across our policy activities, we are working to better integrate SME issues and priorities into U.S. trade policy activities, increase USTR outreach to small businesses, and improve coordination across U.S. trade policy and promotion activities relating to SMEs.

Issues of particular interest to U.S. SME exporters include work to address e-commerce and digital economy issues, customs and trade facilitation measures, reduction of regulatory barriers, government procurement access, professional services recognition, protection of intellectual property rights abroad, and enhanced information resources and cooperation.

In addition to our trade policy activities, the Small Business, Market Access & Industrial Competitiveness office participates in conferences and meetings of small businesses and associations, and works with interagency partners – including the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and other federal agencies participating in the Trade Promotion Coordination Committee (TPCC) – to hear directly from small businesses about their trade priorities, opportunities and challenges they face in accessing foreign markets. 

The office additionally works on SME cooperation initiatives and best practices exchanges with foreign trading partners, in order to connect U.S. small businesses and institutions to foreign SME counterparts, and increase information on the SME business environment.

USITC SME Reports:

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Overview of Participation in U.S. Exports

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: U.S. and EU Export Activities, and Barriers and Opportunities Experienced by U.S. Firms

U.S. Exports from Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Characteristics and Performance

U.S. – Korea Free Trade Agreement:  Effects on U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Trade Barriers that U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Perceive as Affecting Exports to the European Union

U.S. SME Exports:  Trade-related Barriers Affecting Exports of U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises to the United Kingdom

SBA Advocacy SME Reports:

Section 502 Small Business Report on the Modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):   Prepared for the Consideration of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Industry Trade Advisory Committees

Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACs) are integral links between industry and the United States government. Jointly administered by the Department of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR), ITACs provide a public-private forum to ensure that industry has a voice in formulating the trade policy of the United States.

ITAC 9, the Small and Minority Business ITAC, was chartered to incorporate priorities of small and minority businesses in formulating U.S. trade policy and to address issues of concern to small and minority businesses in trade negotiations.

U.S. policy-makers rely on these trade advisors to help identify trade barriers and to provide advice on key objectives and bargaining positions for trade negotiations, as well as other trade-related policy matters.

Small business advisors serving on this and other ITACs provide valuable input as the Administration seeks to improve economic opportunities for America's businesses, workers, and communities  through trade.

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Small Business Information Resources

USMCA Small Business Checklist Resource

U.S.-UK Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Dialogue

eCommerce Guide for U.S. Small Businesses to Sell Online in the UK

Doing Business in the U.S. and UK- Resources for Small Business

U.S. and UK Intellectual Property Toolkits for SMEs

Gov.UK - Protecting Intellectual Property in the United Kingdom

United States Patent and Trademark Office - Protecting Intellectual Property in the United States

Joint Statement on the UK-U.S. Marine Technology Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) Best Practice Exchange, April 2019


U.S.-EU Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Workshop

Joint Statement from the 8th U.S.-EU SME Workshop in Wichita, Kansas, October, 2017

Joint Statement from the 9th U.S.-EU SME Workshop in Vienna, Austria, November 2018

Joint Statement from the 10th U.S.-EU SME Workshop in Little Rock, Arkansas, September 2019


Related links:

Small Business Administration