April 03,2009

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Dan Virkstis, (202) 224-4515

Baucus Urges Locke to Improve U.S. Export Promotion Programs to Help Small Businesses

Baucus Cites New GAO Report’s Recommends Changes to Department of Commerce Fee Structure

Washington, DC -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) commented today on a recent GAO report that he commissioned regarding the Department of Commerce’s export promotion programs. The report recommends that the Department of Commerce improve its system of charging U.S. exporters fees for export promotion services. In particular, the report urges the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) to improve data collection and accuracy to make sure its fee structure does not keep small businesses from taking advantage of valuable export promotion services. Currently, USFCS charges small businesses interested in exporting for export assistance services, including tailored market research and setting up appointments with potential buyers and partners in foreign markets.

“Small American exporters are facing increasingly stiff competition for customers around the world,” Baucus said. “We need to do everything we can to make sure small companies, like those in Montana, are getting the export promotion help they need from the Commerce Department. I urge Secretary Locke to ensure that export promotion programs better help small businesses.”

The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over all international trade matters.

The full text of the report can be viewed here: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09144.pdf