PHOTO: U.S. Reps. Grace Meng, Steve Chabot and Nydia Velázquez listen as witnesses testify during House Small Business Subcommittee hearing on Monday in Forest Hills. Photo Courtesy of Rep. Meng’s Office
By Forum Staff
A congressional committee on Monday convened a rare field hearing in Forest Hills to probe how the U.S. Small Business Administration can make international trade work for borough establishments.
The House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade, the panel that oversees U.S. policy on exports, conducted “Overcoming Challenges to Exporting for Small Businesses” at Bramson ORT College. The hearing, led by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), the top Democrat on the panel, examined how the SBA can better help local small business owners export their products abroad.
Area companies, Meng said, could be missing out on valuable exporting opportunities that are worth millions of dollars.
“Promoting more trade opportunities for small businesses in Queens and New York City is critical,” Meng said. “The New York metropolitan area is the second largest exporting market in the United States with over $105 billion in exports. As a result, exporting is essential to job creation and key to our region’s growth. But many entrepreneurs still face challenges in accessing foreign markets including complexities associated with exporting, a lack of financing and confusing federal trade programs. We must do all we can to knock down these barriers so that we can build on our area’s exporting success, and make it easier for area businesses to sell their goods abroad. The SBA can play a critical role in facilitating this and I look forward to that happening. When small businesses succeed, America succeeds!”
Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-Queens/Brooklyn/Manhattan), ranking member, and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Small Business Committee chairman, also participated in the hearing.
Witnesses who testified before the panel included Pascual Castaño, business advisor at the New York State Small Business Development Center; and Toni Corsini, New York/New Jersey regional manager of the U.S. Export Assistance Center, a division of the SBA.
More than 70 percent of the world’s purchasing power is located outside the U.S., according to Meng’s office, and over 95 percent of the world’s consumers reside abroad. Companies that export their products grow faster and mitigate risk during economic downturns. Some of the top New York export locations include Korea, China, Israel, Canada and Mexico.