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President Directs New Effort to Streamline Exporter Access to Government Assistance

Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

President Obama issued Oct. 28 a memorandum ordering federal agencies to take certain actions in an effort to make it easier for U.S. exporters to access government services. The president said this order represents “a first wave of changes focused on both small businesses and businesses of all sizes that want to begin or increase exporting.” The resulting improvements will be used as a model for future reforms, the president added, so that in time “all businesses and all citizens receive the highest level of customer service when they interact with the federal government.”

All executive departments and agencies will be required to work with a steering committee that will include senior policy and technical representatives from the departments of State, Defense, Agriculture, Commerce and Veterans Affairs, the Small Business Administration, the General Services Administration, the Export-Import Bank and other agencies designated by the steering committee co-chairs. The steering committee will be responsible for coordinating the strategy, design, development, launch and operation of BusinessUSA, a common, open, online platform and Web service with dedicated resources that will, as a first step, disseminate core information regarding the federal government’s programs and services relevant to small businesses and exporters. To the extent appropriate, practicable and permitted by law, the BusinessUSA platform will also integrate related state and local government services as well as those of private sector partners.

Federal agencies will be required to make information regarding their small business and export programs and services accessible through BusinessUSA. To accomplish this in a uniform fashion, the steering committee will develop a common set of standards for content available through BusinessUSA that will identify the types of programs and services to be included initially and a structure for organizing and presenting that information. Agencies will also work to develop new content for BusinessUSA that synthesizes information available across agencies to better serve small businesses and exporters, including statistical, demographic and other raw government datasets. Finally, agencies will be required to integrate BusinessUSA into their current Web sites, call centers and field offices to ensure that small businesses and exporters have access to the wide range of government programs and services at each entry point into the federal government.

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