Larsen, Reichert Introduce Bill to Help Small Businesses Overcome Exporting Hurdles

May 21, 2015 Issues: Jobs Labor and the Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, and Rep. Dave Reichert, WA-08, introduced a bill to help small businesses in Washington state and across the country export their products overseas. The bipartisan State Trade and Export Promotion Utilization Program for American Small Businesses Act of 2015 would reauthorize funding for the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program that helps small businesses overcome hurdles to exporting. 

 “When we help our small businesses sell their goods overseas, we create jobs here at home. The STEP program does just that. Take for example Warm Industrial Nonwovens in Lynnwood, Wash., which manufactures textiles. STEP grants have enabled this local manufacturer to attend international trade shows and get its products in front of major aerospace manufacturers,” Congressman Larsen said. “STEP grants have helped hundreds of small businesses like Warm Industrial to generate millions of dollars in sales. I am pleased to work with Congressman Reichert on this bipartisan bill to help Northwest businesses grow and create jobs.”  

“As our small businesses are looking to export their goods and services to other countries for the first time, we should ensure that they have the tools they need to expand their reach. With 96% of consumers living outside of our borders, this is where the opportunity lies for them to grow their business and hire more people here at home. I look forward to continued work with my colleague from Washington in support of America’s small businesses,” Congressman Reichert said.

The STEP program was created by Congress in 2010 as a three-year pilot program. In Washington state, over 480 businesses have used STEP funding to boost their exports. According to the Washington State Department of Commerce, this has resulted in an increase of more than $161 million in export sales and supported more than 2,200 jobs. Algona-based Cimtech, Inc. and Lynnwood-based Warm Industrial Nonwovens both used STEP grants to make contracts abroad.

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