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Larsen, Reichert Put Forward Bill to Help Small Businesses Export Overseas and Create Jobs at Home

Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, and Rep. Dave Reichert, WA-08, today introduced a bill to help small businesses in Washington state, and across the country, export their products overseas. The bipartisan Next STEP Act of 2013 would permanently authorize the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program, which helps small businesses trying to overcome hurdles to exporting.

“When our small businesses export their products overseas, they create jobs here at home,” Larsen said. “The STEP program has helped hundreds of businesses in Washington state generate millions of dollars of sales. Every dollar we spent through STEP brought back $75 to our state. That kind of success begs repeating. I am pleased to work on a bipartisan basis with Congressman Reichert to help Northwest businesses grow and create jobs.”

“We must support our small businesses seeking to increase their footprints abroad or those exporting for the first time,” Reichert said. “This bipartisan bill is intended to do just that. With the overwhelming majority of consumers living outside of our borders, we need to work together to encourage small businesses to engage in the global economy, creating jobs here at home. I look forward to continued work in support of our exporters with my colleague Congressman Larsen.”

The STEP program was created by Congress in 2010 as a three-year pilot program, and is set to expire next year.

In Washington state, 387 businesses used STEP funding to boost their exports. According to the Washington State Department of Commerce, this has resulted in an increase of more than $29 million in export sales and supported more than 1,200 jobs. Algona-based Cimtech, Inc. and Burlington-based Commercial Aircraft Interiors both used STEP grants to make contracts abroad.

“We have made connections that over time will certainly lead to profitable opportunities,” said Cimtech President Steve Kidd.

A fact sheet on the Next STEP Act is available here. The text of the bill is available here.

More information on the STEP program from the U.S. Small Business Administration is available here.