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May is World Trade Month

May is World Trade Month

By Peter J. Cazamias, SBA Official
Published: May 9, 2017

As the world's largest economy and the largest exporter and importer of goods and services, trade is critical to America's prosperity. Leading the way are small and medium-sized U.S. businesses who account for nearly 98 percent of the roughly 300,000 companies that export.  In recognition of one of the most rapidly growing and changing sectors of the U.S. economy, May is designated as World Trade Month.

World Trade Month celebrates companies that export goods and services around the world, and highlights expanded opportunities trade can bring to companies of all shapes and sizes.  It’s also an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of global trade.  World Trade Week, which occurs during the third week of May, was established in 1935 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and is recognized annually by presidential proclamation.  For more than 80 years, each annual acknowledgement of World Trade Month has been a constant and powerful reminder that global trade is a critical element in the economic development of any country. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration is an important partner providing a number of resources to assist small businesses reach the global marketplace. The SBA’s export loan programs assist U.S. small businesses to access the financing needed to sell their goods and services in the global marketplace.  Last year, the SBA shattered the record for export finance, providing over $1.5 billion in guaranteed loans to small business exporters which supported over $3.3 billion in export sales. 

The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) provides financial assistance to small businesses through awards to state governments.  Over the first three years of funding, states reported nearly $1.5 billion in STEP-supported sales.   In addition, SBA works closely with the U.S. Commercial Service and the U.S. Export-Import Bank of the United States to provide potential and existing exporters with a unified, one-stop approach to export expansion through 21 U.S. Export Assistance Centers nationwide.

World Trade Month is an important time to recognize how trade supports our economy, and how exports help businesses grow. But even after this month is done, the SBA will still be here with our partners, ready to support American small businesses looking to grow through trade.

About the Author:

Peter J. Cazamias
Peter J. Cazamias

SBA Official

Peter J. Cazamias serves as the Associate Administrator for SBA's Office of International Trade.