International trade could be the key to jump starting a stagnate economy, believes Sen. Mary Landrieu, D–La.
Landrieu, chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, presented a bill June 8 that calls for the creation of an assistant U.S. trade representative with a small business focus.
"By creating jobs and lessening the trade deficit, an increase in small business trade will lead us out of this recession and make our country better able to compete," Landrieu said at the bill's introduction.
Even though small businesses represent about 97 percent of the country's exporters, the committee says the market is still dominated by large firms. And because every $1 billion created by exporting produces 14,000 high-paying jobs, Landrieu is working to improve the SBA's Office of International Trade.
She plans to hold a field hearing in New Orleans to further discern how the bill would affect small businesses, speaking directly to the entrepreneurs, although the list of attendees has not been drawn up, according to the senator's aide.
Alex Lewis, interim managing director of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, said the hearing would be a good way to see what the business-owners would like in the legislation.
"Sen. Landrieu holding this hearing in New Orleans is definitely a good thing," Lewis said. "We are a gateway to a lot of international trade; we expect for [the bill] to have a great impact."
But the bill would not only help hurricane-depressed NOLA. Lewis said he expects other port cities throughout the nation, such as Houston and Mobile, Ala., to profit from it as well.
The "Small Business International Trade Enhancements Act of 2009" would also require the SBA to allot 22 trade financial specialist positions for small exporters through the U.S. Export Assistance Centers, an increase from the current 17.