Original Press Release
Small Manufacturer Tells Congress of Potential for Expanding Exports
Press release date: June 19, 2008
SMALL MANUFACTURER TELLS HOUSE COMMITTEE SMALL FIRMS CAN HELP REDUCE TRADE DEFICIT
Maryland Executive Calls For Aggressive Export Promotion Strategy
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 19, 2008 - With a little help from Washington, small manufacturers can provide a dramatic boost to U.S. exports, help reduce the trade deficit and foster job creation, a small manufacturer told the House Committee on Small Business Today.
Charles Wetherington, President of BTE Technologies, Inc., of Hanover, MD, speaking for the National Association of Manufacturers, told the committee that the U.S. exported $982 billion in manufactured goods in 2007, 60 percent of all U.S. exports of goods and services. "Last year, exports accounted for 40 percent of GDP growth, offsetting the housing decline," he said.
But manufacturers, especially small manufacturers, can contribute much more to reducing the trade deficit, Wetherington said. "Given the likelihood of continued large imports of oil and foreign manufactured goods, we need a huge ramp-up of our exports, most of which will have to be manufactured goods. We need a national export expansion strategy designed to achieve a large and sustained increase in our exports."
Wetherington said his company is an example of how a small domestic manufacturer can grow by expanding exports. "Since 2002, our exports have grown 10 times from 3 percent of our revenues to 35 percent. We currently export to 28 countries around the world."
However, Wetherington said, the vast majority of small manufacturers do not export because they lack the expertise and resources to access foreign markets. He cited the examples of Great Britain and Australia as nations that actively fund aggressive export programs for smaller companies. "While U.S. export promotion programs provide little if any financial assistance to exporters, our competitors have a totally different philosophy about promoting exports."
Investment in exports brings a big payoff, Wetherington said. Every federal dollar invested generates $100 in exports. Since 1997, one U.S. program, the Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) has generated $2.65 billion in exports while spending less than $20 million. "I estimate that amount of exports generated additional tax revenue to the U.S. government of almost $100 million, not a bad return on the taxpayers' investment."
Wetherington also stressed the importance of discouraging currency manipulation by our trading partners, simplifying standards and regulatory issues, and enacting more multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements. "Our free trade agreements have opened foreign markets to U.S.-made goods," he said. The text of Wetherington's testimony can be accessed at: http://nam.org/s_nam/bin.asp?CID=202340&DID=240635&DOC=FILE.PDF
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's award-winning web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.
CONTACT: HANK COX (202) 637-3090