Video: Ambassador Kirk Unveils New USTR Initiative on Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses

Yesterday, Ambassador Kirk today unveiled the first steps in a new initiative aimed at increasing exports by small- and medium-sized firms in the United States. Watch Ambassador Kirk's opening remarks below.

Read Ambassador Kirk's remarks below.

"America's small and medium-sized businesses are the heart of U.S. employment.

They exist in every city and town from coast to coast. They are often family businesses, employing 500 or fewer workers. And they are crucial to our economic recovery through trade.

These are difficult times for businesses of every size. But small and medium-sized exporters are often bright spots in the overall economy.

They are more likely to grow faster, add jobs more quickly, and pay higher wages.

That is why, this morning, I am announcing a major policy initiative to bolster trade opportunities for America's small and medium-sized enterprises.

Many other government agencies have programs to assist these firms with trade.

But the country's lead trade policy agency, USTR, has never made a significant public commitment to promote the export interests of small and medium-sized businesses.

That changes today.

We can see the potential for small and medium-sized enterprises. We can and will help them to grow their share of trade.

Right now, the numbers say that small businesses account for 97% of American exporters, but only 30% of American exports.

But there is much we do not know about the true role that small and medium-sized businesses can play in job creation and economic growth.

We are formally requesting that the International Trade Commission launch a study of small and medium-sized enterprises.

We want to close the gap between what we know and what we need to know about how best we can help.

Also today, I am establishing a USTR wide working group to explore our existing efforts to help small businesses and identify how we can do more.

Every team in this building will help to determine how we can act right now to make trade policies that are as effective to small and medium sized businesses as they are for big businesses.

And we will figure out how to make our enforcement policies more immediately responsive to these businesses' needs.

There is more to come in this initiative. But this is an important start.

The bottom line is this: USTR's mission is to create economic and trading opportunities for all American firms.

Small and medium-sized businesses are ready to take advantage of those opportunities, and we are ready to help them."