US Exports, Global Markets, Small Businesses and Your Voice

While the U.S. maintains its position as the richest country with the highest gross domestic product, it is not the globe’s greatest single exporter.  That position goes to China.  In 2012 the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency estimated China’s exports at $1.971 trillion, and the U.S.’s at $1.561 trillion.  Considering the U.S.’s increasing fossil fuel exports, and the growing global consumption, especially China’s, the gap between these positions will hopefully narrow in 2014.  Conceivably, there will come a time when the U.S. will be the globe’s biggest exporter ever.  That cannot happen soon enough, and small businesses should be a strong factor in bringing about this national wealth. 

 Increasing exports increases employment opportunities.  The U.S. Commerce Department estimates that 5,000 to 10,000 jobs are supported by every $1 billion of exports.  People need to go to work, and exporting is a viable and progressive way to get that job done, and to give hard workers fat paychecks. 

 A growing U.S. export market is the demand for commodities and components for the global construction of 231 nuclear energy projects currently under construction or being planned.  The Nuclear Energy Institute has reported that, “U.S. Companies are exporting plants, equipment and services to countries around the world.”  Many of those companies are, or started out as, small businesses.

 The lists of products exported out of the U.S. and what countries they are exported to are varied and fascinating.  Canada is the biggest recipient, and in 2012 purchased 18.9 percent of U.S. exports for $291.7 billion.  The number one export to Canada was vehicles, with a total value of $50.1 billion.  Mexico is the second biggest recipient, and in 2012 purchased 14 percent of U.S. exports for $216.3 billion.  The number one exports to Mexico were machines, engines and pumps, with a total value of $36 billion.  China is the third biggest recipient, and in 2012 purchased 7.2 percent of U.S. exports for $110.6 billion.  The number one export to China was oil seed with a total value of $15.2 billion.  In 2013 automotive vehicles, parts and engines; chemicals; petroleum products; fuel oil; and civilian aircraft were the U.S.’s top five exports.  Many of these products, or services and components of these products, are made possible by small businesses. 

 In the global economic arena, exporting is becoming a seriously competitive market.  Even though U.S. exports are increasing, President Obama’s 2009 goal of doubling exports by 2015 will not be reached, as reported by the Journal of Commerce on Jan. 8, 2014.  Part of this failure is because of the bureaucracy exporters must cut through.  This bureaucratic red tape is particularly prohibitive for small businesses. 

 Small businesses always have been and remain important building blocks to national financial growth.  They pay taxes, they innovate cutting-edge products and they create jobs.  Part of the American Dream has always been the opportunity to start a small business and have a reasonably good chance of at least moderate success.  That U.S. government bureaucracy prohibits them from succeeding in the global market is wrong.  It means that the American voice is not heard, that the U.S. government holds itself more important than its constituents.  That is in direct opposition to the ideals of democracy.  Without small businesses the U.S. is left only with the impersonality and inapproachability of big businesses, and the bureaucracy of government.  Be politically active.  Every U.S. citizen deserves a voice in the way the nation is run.  Make yours heard. 

 Joan Brown ~ contributor