Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has been making the rounds from Asia to Atlanta lately, with global trade’s importance economic growth his recurring emphasis. We’ve appreciated his consistent reminders that small- and medium-sized enterprises are powerful contributors to innovation and exports, not just for the United States but other nations, as well.
Locke spoke at the opening ceremony of the Americas Competitiveness Forum, a meeting of Western Hemispheric government and business leaders held earlier this week in Atlanta. (The International Trade Administration blogged the event at its Tradeology blog.) From his remarks:
What do we see as essential elements of competitiveness?
Small and medium sized businesses development is certainly one.
SMEs are frequently the driving force behind innovation — and the commercialization of new products and services that are the lifeblood of our global economy.
Consider the fact that firms less than 5 years old – many of which are considered small businesses – have accounted for nearly ALL increased employment in America’s private sector over the last three decades.
But small businesses development must also mean inclusive development.
That is why since Day One, the Obama administration has put the empowerment of all SME’s and entrepreneurs at the top of our agenda – and worked so hard to knock down barriers entrepreneurship, especially among underserved communities.
This is a strategy the entire Hemisphere should make a priority to pursue.
Secretary Locke was reaffirming the points he made the previous week in Yokohama in remarks at the Asia-Pacific Cooperation (APEC) Small- and Medium Enterprises (SME) Summit.
During his stop in Mumbia on Nov. 6, Secretary Locke also announced plans for a February business mission to India: “I’ll be bringing with me U.S. companies – large and small – in search of mutually beneficial opportunities in this vibrant, promising market.”
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