Job Creating Legislation for American Workers Promotes Exports, Increases Competitiveness

Washington, DC – The Export Promotion Reform Act introduced by U.S. Rep. Howard Berman strengthening U.S. export promotion programs passed the U.S. House of Representatives today.

The bill is designed to increase exports of American made goods and services by strengthening the overall coordination of export promotion programs in the United States. It will help U.S. businesses export products abroad more efficiently, while creating jobs for American workers.

“We must create advantages for American workers and businesses to compete overseas,” said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village). “Reforming export promotion programs help American workers do what they do best – compete against foreign manufacturers and win.”

The legislation, co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) is supported by the Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, National Foreign Trade Council, Business Roundtable, and Coalition for Employment Through Exports.

Currently, there are 17 federal agencies with export promotion programs, but they are not adequately coordinated or directed toward the best export markets. The Berman bill corrects that problem and makes more effective use of the taxpayer dollars spent on export promotion, cutting down on red tape and inefficiencies.

The Berman bill is based on recommendations from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) which has determined that U.S. export promotion programs are less effective than programs in other countries. In the latest Census, some 366,000 U.S. firms reported they are exporters, more than 95% of which are small- and medium-sized businesses. GAO found that effective export promotion programs are an important competitive factor in global trade competition.

In Los Angeles County, $51 billion in goods and services are sold overseas, which support 516,000 jobs, or 9% of the 3.8 million country workforce, according to the Los Angeles Area Economic Development Council. Statewide, some 60,000 firms sell $143 billion in goods and services overseas each year.

For a summary of the Export Promotion Reform Act, click here.

Rep. Berman’s floor statement in support of H.R. 4041, the Export Promotion Reform Act, as prepared for delivery appears below:

Mr./Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 4041, and yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Mr./Madam Speaker, the Export Promotion Reform Act is a bi-partisan, non-controversial bill that will help increase the export of American goods and services, and in the process, create new high quality jobs.

I’d like to thank the Gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Manzullo, for working with me on this legislation, and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for helping to move this through the legislative process.

H.R. 4041 would implement recommendations by the Governmental Accountability Office to make more effective use of our export promotion programs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill does not authorize any new programs, nor does it add any new spending, or impose any new mandates.

[I ask unanimous consent to include the CBO analysis at this point in the Record.]

The bill has been endorsed by a number of prominent business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and The Business Roundtable.

[I ask unanimous consent that the letters of support from these organizations be included in the Record at this point.]

Mr./Madam Speaker, the Export Promotion Reform Act would make sound, practical improvements that would benefit many of the nation’s 293,000 exporting firms – more than 97% of which are small- and medium sized businesses -- while exercising fiscal prudence on behalf of the American taxpayer.

American firms have renewed opportunities for growth – and increased employment -- through increased sales overseas. However, the competition in world trade is fierce, and our export promotion programs often don’t measure up to those of our competitors.

GAO has told us repeatedly that these programs would be more effective with improved coordination. To that end, H.R. 4041 would eliminate duplicative activities and improve service delivery to exporters; require a global plan to identify and target the best growth markets for U.S. goods and services; and require our ambassadors to develop country-by-country commercial diplomacy plans aimed at increasing U.S. exports, while making the effectiveness of their commercial diplomacy efforts part of their annual performance review.

Mr./Madam Speaker, the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that every $1 billion in U.S. exports supports approximately 5,800 jobs here at home. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living overseas, expanding US exports in world markets is one of the best ways for American businesses to grow and create jobs.

I urge all of my colleagues to support this piece of legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.