Partners include the Commerce Department, U.S. Trade Representative, Small Business Administration, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, PNC, Wells Fargo, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

Today, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) announced its Global Access for Small Business (Global Access) initiative, which will help more than 5,000 small companies export goods and services produced by U.S. workers. As an integral part of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) mission to double U.S. exports by 2015, Global Access is being supported by a wide variety of business, financial and government partners.

“For our economy to grow, we need more American small businesses to become exporters,” stated Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. “The demand exists for their products and services, but many companies are wary of international sales. Global Access provides financing tools to minimize the risk of exporting so more American small businesses can grow their companies and create new jobs.”

The announcement took place today at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where Hochberg and Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue were joined by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, SBA Administrator Karen Mills, and the Executive Vice President and incoming President of the National Association of Manufacturers Jay Timmons. Also present were representatives of the four banks that have also signed on as Global Access partners: HSBC Bank USA, N.A.; PNC; Wells Fargo; and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Global Access involves very concrete goals. By 2015, Ex-Im Bank aims to double its annual small-business export-finance volume from $4.5 billion to $9 billion, add a total of 5,000 small businesses to its portfolio and approve at least $30 billion in small-business transactions. To reach these benchmarks, Ex-Im Bank is offering new financing and insurance products that complement existing Bank programs, as well as streamlining product delivery.

In addition, 20 Global Access forums will be held around the country in 2011 in coordination with the federal agencies, business organizations and banks represented at today’s event. The first ones will be held in the following cities: Cleveland, Ohio; Kansas City, Mo.; Manchester, N.H.; Miami, Fla.; New Orleans, La.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Denver, Colo.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead in partnering with Ex-Im Bank on promoting small business exporting through Global Access. In the coming months, it will collaborate with Ex-Im Bank to organize outreach forums across the country, directly inform small businesses about export opportunities and highlight companies that have increased sales, profits and jobs through exports.

“Increasing exports is critical to our nation’s economy and job creation,” stated Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “There are thousands of companies that need to be brought into the exporting business. More than a quarter million of America’s small businesses export, and while they account for nearly a third of U.S. merchandise exports, that’s just one of every 100 companies. We must provide these small businesses with the tools, training, financing and contacts they need to sell overseas, and the Global Access initiative will provide these resources to those firms that need them. This partnership will bring a stronger voice and greater resources to the small companies that most need assistance in expanding foreign sales.”

The other leading private-sector partner for Global Access is the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the nation’s largest manufacturing association. NAM has been a stalwart champion of increased U.S. exports and has built a strong relationship with Ex-Im Bank. “Exports are critical to the ability of manufacturers in America to succeed in a competitive world marketplace, grow and create jobs,” said Jay Timmons, executive vice president and incoming president of NAM. “Manufacturers account for two-thirds of U.S. exports of goods and services. The Global Access initiative provides the type of trade finance called for in the NAM’s ‘Blueprint to Double Exports in Five Years.’ It will enable more small and medium-sized manufacturers to begin or expand foreign sales – and lead to more jobs here at home.”

Global Access will be a component of the Administration’s multiagency NEI outreach program being led by the Commerce Department that will be announced later this month.  Along with Ex-Im Bank, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Agriculture will be working with Commerce to combine efforts to build awareness in the private sector regarding exporting opportunities.

“Exports are leading our recovery, but putting more Americans back to work means connecting more small businesses with the 95 percent of consumers living outside our borders,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “The Global Access initiative will do just that, linking small-business owners with critical financing that will help them sell more of what they make in markets around the world.”

As head of the only federal agency exclusively focused on strengthening America’s small companies, SBA Administrator Karen Mills stated that, “America’s small business exports have grown in recent years, but they still represent only about 30 percent of our export revenues and more than half of small-business exporters only ship to one country. Through the National Export Initiative and new tools in the Small Business Jobs Act, we’re putting more tools in the hands of small businesses who want to start or increase exporting. By strengthening small-business exporting, we’ll help create more good jobs here at home while increasing America’s global competitiveness.”

“It is the special commitment of the Office of the United States Trade Representative to help small and medium-sized businesses succeed through exports. Exports from smaller businesses have experienced incredible growth over the last decade, and, with the right help, they can continue to expand for the next 10,” said Ambassador Ron Kirk.

“Only one in every 100 small businesses is marketing its products abroad. We need to find ways to help these businesses tap into the full range of global markets and create jobs by expanding their export sales, and the National Export Initiative will help us do that.”

Small businesses interested in learning how they can participate in the Global Access initiative and learn more about how Ex-Im Bank products can support their export sales can visit www.exim.gov/smallbusiness.

CONTACT: Maura Policelli, +1-202-565-3200

Web Site: http://www.exim.gov

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