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Survey Results: Are You Looking for International Trade Assistance?
August 22, 2017 Tatiana Bertolo, Office of Small Business

The U.S. Department of Commerce has various sub-organizations that support U.S. small businesses and their efforts to expand into foreign markets, and attract job-creating foreign investment in the United States. These sub-organizations include the International Trade Administration (ITA) and its U.S. Commercial Service (CS), Advocacy Center and SelectUSA. Last year, the ITA surveyed over 15,000 businesses that had received international trade assistance from ITA. The high level summary and results are described below. If you are a small business owner looking for international trade assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to your one of ITA’s 100+ U.S. Commercial Service offices around the country to start reaping the benefits of their programs. Export guides and videos can also be found on “” to help get your export program off the ground quickly.

The International Trade Administration also helps to enhance market access for businesses by preventing, reducing and eliminating foreign trade barriers and unfair trade practices. Their market intelligence is based on a worldwide network of trade professionals who have extensive market knowledge. As a federal agency, it is uniquely positioned to address typical barriers to exporting such as regulatory barriers, intellectual property (IP) infringement, unfair trade practices and access to information and contacts abroad.

In 2016, the International Trade Administration:

  • Assisted over 28,000 U.S. exporters
  • Assisted mostly small and medium-sized businesses
    • Nearly 90% of ITA clients have fewer than 500 employees
    • 6 out of 10 ITA clients have fewer than 100 employees
  • Supported businesses in all 50 states and U.S. territories
  • Supported businesses in urban, suburban, and rural locations
  • Assisted exporters of goods and services across all industries and sectors

The following describes the impact for U.S. businesses based on International Trade Administration assistance:

  • U.S. businesses facilitated over $59 billion in U.S. exports and supported over 300,000 American jobs in FY16
  • U.S. exports and inward investment returns $192 to the economy for every $1 appropriated to the U.S. Commercial Service by Congress
  • Nearly 90% of clients successfully exported to multiple countries whereas only 41% of all U.S. exporters do
  • 9 out of 10 would likely recommend ITA’s assistance; 7 out 10 would be highly likely
  • Clients highly value their local and global network of helpful, trusted, impartial and dedicated professionals
  • Clients like their specialized knowledge and affordable services that otherwise would not be available to them
  • Clients say they enhanced their credibility overseas and enabled them to access information and contacts overseas they otherwise would have been unable to come by
  • On average, clients increased annual revenue by 9% with ITA assistance last year; 9 out of 10 clients anticipate increased revenue within the next three years due to Commerce assistance
  • On average, clients increased U.S. employment by 5% last year; 7 out of 10 anticipate adding more U.S. jobs within three years
  • Clients achieved results in 93 countries last year due to Commerce’s global reach
  • More than half of all U.S. businesses that export to 10+ countries and over 90% that export to 25+ countries rely on Commerce assistance to ensure and enhance their ability to compete internationally

Further Assistance

Below is a link to download our “2017 Export Business Opportunities” guide which describes in detail other government programs (including programs from SBA, EXIM Bank and ITA) that will help support your international growth plans. 

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