On Tuesday, during a roundtable event with eBay executives, eBay small businesses and officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and eBay Inc. President and CEO John Donahoe announced a partnership for U.S. trade and investment expansion. The partnership will focus on increasing awareness of the economic benefits of trade, specifically the important role that small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) can play in growing America’s export economy.
Donahoe said of the partnership, “At eBay, we are committed to creating opportunities for businesses of all sizes to participate in the global marketplace, which is why we’re so pleased to partner with the Department of Commerce on this effort. In today’s digitally connected world, every business can export and help grow our American economy.”
For decades, the global market has been largely dominated by big business. Small businesses have been largely unable to touch markets outside of their own local communities. However, technology and digital marketplaces have completely revolutionized the global market and created opportunities for small businesses to participate in cross border trade. These opportunities have in turn provided access to new consumers and new opportunities to succeed for businesses that might otherwise be struggling in today’s economy. In fact, 50 to 80 percent of new technology enabled small businesses on eBay survive after their first year, compared with only 20 to 30 percent of traditional small businesses.
Over the years, eBay Inc. has demonstrated great success in facilitating cross-border trade among the small and micro-small businesses that use our services. As a company, we have been committed to ensuring businesses of every size are able to reach beyond a local consumer base and access global markets. eBay Inc. innovations, such as our global payment network, Global Buying Hub and Global Shipping Program – are breaking down many of the traditional barriers to trade that small and medium businesses face.
“A recent study of the eBay marketplace shows the current level of small business cross border trade on our website points to a revolutionary kind of global commerce,” explains Caitlin Brosseau, manager of Federal Government Relations for eBay Inc. “Over 90 percent of our U.S. commercial merchants export, and on average they export to 19 countries. This number is groundbreaking when compared to the less than 5 percent of traditional small businesses that participate in the global market.”
As the federal agency tasked with promoting U.S. businesses domestically and abroad, the Department of Commerce looks for partners to promote U.S. exporters.
“In a globally connected economy, American companies have to consider the entire marketplace as they look to grow their businesses and create jobs,” Secretary Pritzker said. “The fact is, 95 percent of worldwide consumers live outside U.S. borders. Whether they are large or small, American businesses cannot afford to limit their options when it comes to selling their goods and services. The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that SME exporters are aware of export opportunities and federal resources that are available to help them establish a foothold abroad, increase their exports, and support additional good-paying American jobs. We look forward to working with eBay Inc. to help America’s small and medium-sized businesses thrive at home and around the world.”
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. A majority of the world’s trade laws were developed in a pre-Internet era and current trade policies complicate international opportunities for many U.S. small businesses. eBay Inc. supports public policies that propose to eliminate artificial barriers to e-commerce and is appreciative of the Department of Commerce’s partnership for action on this important issue.
Last year, John Donahoe was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Export Council in an effort to help develop positive public policy around international trade.
eBay Inc.’s partnership with the Department of Commerce was introduced in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce and eBay Inc. For more information on the Department of Commerce and the agency’s trade initiatives, please visit the International Trade Administration. And to learn more about eBay Inc.’s trade story and our efforts to promote positive international trade policy, please click here.
Photo, from left: eBay Inc. CEO John Donahoe, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.