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Senate Hearing on the Future of STEP

June 18, 2014

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship recently held a hearing on the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program. At the hearing, there were six panelists, three representing state trade offices (Washington, Arkansas, and Idaho) and three from the private sector.

STEP began as a three-year pilot trade and export initiative in 2012, expiring at the end of this year. Lawmakers in Congress are now discussing STEP reauthorization. With a national return-on-investment (ROI) of 15:1, STEP reauthorization has been considered by some to be the most efficient federal program in existence.

According to a recent survey, more small businesses are exporting today than three years ago, and there has been a twenty percent increase in companies interested in exporting. However, businesses believe that the major impediment to exporting was the lack of information on where to start, a problem that state trade offices know how to solve.

Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Jim Risch (R-ID) understand the important role that states play in export promotion and have been discussing not only extending STEP but making it a permanent federal program.

For more on the hearing, please click here.