Small businesses expand to overseas markets

Businessmen walking

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The nation's trade deficit edged down in November to its lowest point in 10 months, thanks to a rise in U.S. exports. President Obama has said he wants to double exports over the next five years. And today, the U.S. Export and Import Bank announces a new focus: small business.

Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports.


Eve Troeh: In the 1960s, Creative Teaching Press started making scratch-and-sniff stickers that teachers put on homework. Today it sells millions of workbooks, flashcards, and other teacher tools. Its fastest growing market is overseas.

Susan Munoz: Sales for last year, 2010, were up 52 percent.

Susan Munoz handles accounts. She says Asia and the Middle East are big potential markets. But small businesses like hers can be more vulnerable overseas.

Munoz: You never know what the economic weather's going to be, or what's happening within those countries that might limit us from collecting.

That's where the U.S. Export-Import Bank comes in. The bank helps guarantee that foreign customers can -- and will -- pay American companies. Bank chairman Fred Hochberg says the agency is expanding these services.

Fred Hochberg: Remember, 95 percent of the world's customers are overseas. They're not here.

Hochberg aims to help small business owners understand that, and act on it.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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