Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the Export Promotion Reform Act, H.R. 1409, a bill that will create jobs by improving coordination among the federal government’s export promotions programs, strengthening commercial diplomacy, increasing U.S. exports.

The legislation is featured in Majority Whip Steny Hoyer’s ‘Make It In America’ agenda to help manufacturers grow, expand, and create jobs domestically.

“This is a commonsense bill that creates domestic jobs and helps grow our economy here at home,” said Rep. Engel. “We must cut through bureaucratic red tape and encourage home grown industries and manufacturers to expand their businesses, hire more workers, and export their products overseas. This is not a Democratic or Republican bill, but a job creating bill that puts American workers first.”

In the 112th Congress, the bill was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable, the National Foreign Trade Council and the Coalition for Employment Through Exports. The bill was passed by the House with bi-partisan support but was not acted upon by the Senate.

All major trading nations promote the export of their goods and services. U.S. programs are less effective than our competitors’, mainly due to inadequate coordination. The U.S. competitive disadvantage in export promotion is one factor in the U.S. loss of market share in world merchandise trade; the U.S. market share of the $22 trillion in global merchandise trade has dropped from 9.8% in 2003 to 8.1% in 2011. This loss of market share has inhibited job creation, since every $1 billion in US exports results in the creation of approximately 5,800 jobs.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the 20 U.S. export promotion programs and their total $1.5 billion budget would be more effective with improved coordination, elimination of duplicative activities and better allocation of resources. In particular, GAO found that strengthening the interagency Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) would better help the 293,000 U.S. exporting firms and their workers in overseas markets.

Key provisions of the bill include the following components:

1. To carry out a workable export strategy, require a global plan to:

--assess global markets to identify the best opportunities for increasing U.S. exports

--seek the recommendations of U.S. exporters, particularly small- and medium-sized firms and representatives of American workers

--deploy U.S. Commercial Service personnel and budgets to help U.S. firms win sales in the markets with the best opportunities

2. To make the most effective use of U.S. export promotion resources, require the TPCC to:

--assess and make improvements in current export promotion programs, using feedback from U.S. exporters and workers

--review and approve annual export promotion budgets to cut waste

--coordinate export promotion activities across the government to fill gaps and end duplication

3. To better use U.S. diplomatic power to help exporters, require the Secretary of State to:

--direct ambassadors to develop country-by-country commercial diplomacy plans aimed at increasing U.S. exports

--require performance assessments of the effectiveness of our embassies in carrying out commercial diplomacy and helping U.S. exporters

--require the State Department Inspector General to assess commercial diplomacy effectiveness in the regular audits of U.S. missions.