Larsen Introduces Legislation to Help U.S. Small Businesses Succeed in China

Aug 1, 2007

August 1, 2007

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02), co-chair of the U.S.-China Working Group, introduced legislation today to enhance U.S. competitiveness and help U.S. small and medium-sized businesses access the China market. The legislation is part of the bi-partisan “U.S.-China Competitiveness Agenda for 2007” -- four pieces of legislation that aim to expand our diplomatic infrastructure in China, help U.S. small and medium sized businesses succeed in China, boost Chinese language programs in the United States and expand U.S.-China cooperation on energy security and climate change.  Larsen, joined by U.S.-China Working Group co-chair Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and working group members Reps. Susan Davis (D-CA) and Steve Israel (D-NY), announced the legislative agenda at a press conference on Capitol Hill today.

“China is the number one foreign market for Washington state products,” said Larsen. “We need innovative programs that support our small business exporters and arm them with the tools they need to succeed in China. This legislation will help more small and medium-sized businesses get their foot in the door so they can take full advantage of the China market, which is growing by leaps and bounds each year.”

China’s economy is on the rise—and it is rising fast.  Already the second largest economy in the world when measured by domestic purchasing power parity, China’s economy grew 11.9% in the second quarter of this year. 

“China is a booming market for U.S. exports,” said James Morrison, President of the Small Business Exporters Association of the United States (SBEA), “and the 'U.S.-China Market Engagement and Export Promotion Act' helps put that market within reach for smaller American companies that export, or that hope to. SBEA commends the bill's sponsors for their constructive proposals.”

China’s booming economy presents a growing export opportunity for Washington state small and medium sized businesses. In 2006, 60% of U.S. exports went to countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and U.S. exports to China increased by 24% during the past year.  Washington state exports to China increased by 34% from 2005 to 2006, but many U.S. small businesses face obstacles understanding and navigating the Chinese market. Financial roadblocks, conflicting information, intellectual property rights infringements and cultural differences create unnecessary barriers for American companies.

The U.S.-China Market Engagement and Export Promotion Act of 2007, authored by Larsen, will –

  • Help states establish and operate offices in China to promote exports;
  • Create a program establishing China Market Advocate Positions in U.S. Export Assistance Centers around the country;
  • Provide assistance to small businesses for trade missions to China;  and
    Authorize Small Business Administration grants for Chinese business education programs.

The U.S.-China Diplomatic Expansion Act of 2007, authored by Kirk, will –

  • Increase funding for public diplomacy with an emphasis on Internet communications;
  • Provide funds to build another consulate and establish 10 American presence posts;
  • Increase funding for State Department student exchange programs;
  • Increase funding for State Department teacher exchange programs;
  • Increase funding for Rule of Law Initiatives; and
  • Increase funding for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Organization.

The United States-China Energy Cooperation Act of 2007, authored by Israel, will –

  • Authorize a grant program to encourage joint American-Chinese research and development and policy education;
  • Fund grants for joint energy and climate change policy education programs and/or joint research, development, or commercialization of carbon capture and sequestration technology, improved energy efficiency, or renewable energy sources. Entities eligible for grant funding are joint ventures comprised of both Chinese and American private business entities, joint ventures comprised of both Chinese and American academics or joint ventures comprised of Chinese and American federal, state, or local governments.

The U.S.-Chinese Language Engagement Act of 2007, authored by Davis, will –

  • Increase Chinese cultural studies and language acquisition for school-aged students of the United States through grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs);
  • Fund grants to be used for collaborative efforts to support joint ventures with LEAs and institutions of higher education; grants may also be used to fund virtual cultural exchanges with educational institutions in the People’s Republic of China; and
  • Encourage LEAs seeking grants to develop programs that include intensive summer Chinese language instruction, link bilingual Chinese and English speakers with students, begin instruction at an early age, and include Chinese cultural studies.