After the President’s recent State of the Union Address, more than 100 eBay-enabled small businesses sent a letter to President Obama commending him for his commitment to pursue an ambitious trade agenda this year and calling for the modernization of the United States’ trade policies. In the letter, the signatories explained that although the Internet has enabled their businesses to seize opportunities abroad, it is often difficult to maximize their full trade potential because of outdated cross border trade regulations around the world.
“Trade rules developed in a 'pre-Internet' era unnecessarily complicate international opportunities for our businesses,” said the letter. “For example, domestic and international customs rules create real obstacles for us to increase exports, while open markets that allow for resale of goods and cross border data flows are critical to our participation in global commerce. Finally, countries must rethink how they integrate small businesses into global commerce, especially given the trade generated by small businesses like ours.”
Although eBay Inc. has shown that technology and innovation can solve many of the barriers facing technology-enabled traders, there are barriers that can only be removed by government action and coordination. eBay Inc.’s Government Relations team coordinated the letter to underscore the importance of addressing small business interests in any moving trade legislation or trade negotiations this year. “This letter is hugely effective in illustrating for policymakers the need to address government-inflicted policy pain points that prevent our customers from easily accessing international markets”, said Caitlin Brosseau, Senior Manager of Federal Government Relations for eBay Inc. “We are working with Congress and the Administration to bring our trade policies into the 21st century.”
eBay Inc. has been very involved in the trade modernization debates. Last February, John Donahoe and U. S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced a partnership for U.S. trade and investment expansion. The partnership is focused on increasing awareness of the economic benefits of trade, specifically the important role that small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) play in growing America’s export economy. Additionally, John Donahoe has used his appointment to the President’s Export Council (PEC) to drive policy recommendations that prioritize technology-enabled small business trade.
eBay Inc.’s Government Relations team also recently launched a grassroots campaign to encourage members of Congress to support modernized trade legislation and urge them to support policies that open up new markets for these small U.S. businesses to grow and create jobs. “Our grassroots campaigns provides a unique opportunity for the eBay community to make their voice heard with their elected officials”, explained Sharon McBride, Director of External Affairs and Operations at eBay Inc. “With over 90 percent of U.S. businesses using eBay.com to participate in the global market, it is critical that policymakers understand the importance of including small business interests in any trade discussion.”