Larsen, Castro, Wagner Introduce Bipartisan Measure to Promote International Commerce

Sep 5, 2018 Issues: Jobs Labor and the Economy

WASHINGTON—Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Financial Services Committee; and Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-02), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Armed Services Committee, today introduced the Global Small Business Network Act which would support the establishment of small business development centers internationally and promote international commerce.

“Small business development centers in the United States assist local entrepreneurs in addressing challenges both managerial and technical and provide opportunity for country to country assistance to foreign governments in Latin America and the Caribbean that strengthen the small business environment across the world” said Congressman Castro. “The Global Small Business Network Act supports the establishment of small business development centers in Latin America and the Caribbean and extends the program into Southeast Asia, expanding the reach of American small businesses to fast-expanding markets in the Americas and Asia. Such a program would promote international commerce and improve entrepreneur communication. This bipartisan measure will also recognize the invaluable role in community building and job creation that small businesses provide, contributing to the economic success of our nation and our economic partners across the world.”

“Southeast Asian markets are vital to the prosperity of our economy,” said Congresswoman Wagner. “Over 40,000 companies across the country export to ASEAN, and trade with ASEAN member states supports over 500,000 American jobs. I am thrilled to introduce this bipartisan legislation that mutually benefits the U.S.-ASEAN partnership; it will help small business owners here in the United States export to foreign markets and facilitate the growth of small businesses in Southeast Asia.”

“Small business owners in Washington state where 40 percent of jobs are tied to trade, understand the importance of expanding the ability to export products and goods to foreign markets,” said Congressman Larsen. “This legislation will help ensure U.S. small businesses have a continued presence in Southeast Asia and will support local jobs across the U.S.” 

Specifically, the Global Small Business Network Act will:

  • Enhance the ability of small businesses in the United States to export to foreign markets and take part in international commerce;
  • Authorize $1 million for Small Business Network of the Americas and $1 million for the ASEAN Small Business Network; and
  • Support economic security in partner countries by assisting countries in promoting small businesses and entrepreneurship.

Small businesses across the United States have benefitted from access to technical assistance, regulatory guidance, and educational programs through small business development centers (SBDC) in the United States. The SBDC model has successfully been adopted in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, through assistance from the Small Business Network of the Americas’ initiative funded through the Department of State. The Global Small Business Network Act would support and enhance this work to promote sustainable and inclusive development in the Americas that also has tangible benefits for small business owners’ in the United States. It would also expand the current State Department’s program to include Southeast Asia and emphasize connectivity between the United States and partner countries, through the network of small business development centers.

Read the full text of the bill here.

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