SBA Participates in Inaugural USMCA Small & Medium-Sized Enterprise Dialogue

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SBA Office of International Trade

Export Newsletter - April 28, 2022

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SBA Office of International Trade Associate Administrator Gabriel Esparza (at podium) moderates the opening session Q&A of the USMCA SME Dialogue in San Antonio, Texas.

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SBA Office of International Trade Associate Administrator Gabriel Esparza (front row, end, right) at the USMCA SME Dialogue in San Antonio, Texas.

USTR, SBA and Commerce convene the first USMCA Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Dialogue in San Antonio, Texas

On April 22, the United States, Canada and Mexico held the inaugural U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Dialogue. The Dialogue brought together hundreds of small business stakeholders, including those representing underserved communities, from the United States, Canada and Mexico in person and via live webinar in English, Spanish and French.

SBA’s Office of International Trade Associate Administrator (OIT) Gabriel Esparza joined Deputy United States Trade Representative Jayme White, Mexico’s Under Secretary of Foreign Trade, Luz María de la Mora, and Canada’s Deputy Minister for International Trade, David Morrison.

“The first ever U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement Small and Medium Enterprise Dialogue is a central piece of our three governments’ engagement with SME stakeholders, particularly those owned by women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups, to ensure they have the tools they need to become more competitive,” said Gabriel Esparza, SBA Associate Administrator for the Office of International Trade. “It’s an opportunity to help more small businesses take advantage of the opportunities created by the Agreement and to discuss ways to strengthen the regional trade and investment in North America.”

Participants were able to learn about resources to help small businesses exporting and importing under USMCA and recovering from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as to share experiences and best practices for trading across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Click here for more details.

Canada and Mexico are the top two destinations for U.S. small business exports. USMCA creates a more stable and transparent trading and investment environment, which makes it easier and cheaper for U.S. small businesses to export their products and services to these two top markets. To learn more about exporting to Mexico and Canada and USMCA, visit You can also view OIT’s Learn to Trade webinars, Accessing the Canadian Market and Accessing the Mexican Market, for more specific information about those respective markets.

Associate Administrator Esparza Hosts Listening Session for Minority Small Businesses, Meets with Veteran-Owned Small Business in San Antonio, Texas

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SBA Office of International Trade Associate Administrator Gabriel Esparza is joined by Veronica Maturino, CEO of ONABEN, in leading a listening session with minority small business owners at LiftOff in San Antonio, Texas.

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(Left to right) SBA Lender Relations Specialist Annie Hudspeth; District Director Mary Hernandez Marrero; Tom Dodson of Romet Electronic Larynx; SBA OIT Associate Administrator Gabriel Esparza; SBA OIT Trade Policy Director Christine Brown; and Director of the Veterans Business Outreach Center Amy Amoroso in San Antonio, Texas.

In addition to the USMCA SME Dialogue, SBA OIT Associate Administrator Gabriel Esparza co-led a roundtable with underserved small businesses and visited with a veteran-owned small business in San Antonio, Texas, on April 21. Veronica Maturino, CEO of ONABEN, a non-profit supported by SBA that empowers underserved communities through entrepreneurship, joined him at the roundtable where about 10 Native American and underserved small businesses shared their experiences with trading across borders.

That same morning at LiftOff, Associate Administrator Esparza was joined by Amy Amoroso, Director of the Veterans Business Outreach Center SBA Region II, to meet with veteran Tom Dodson of Romet Electronic Larynx to learn about his company’s export journey providing technologies and accessories globally to assist laryngectomies regaining their voice.

Associate Administrator Esparza Visits Seattle to Discuss Small Business Exports with Area Leaders

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Left to right: John Brislin, Export Finance Manager, OIT; Gabriel Esparza, Associate Administrator, OIT; City of Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell; SBA Regional Administrator Michael Fong; and Ellie He, International Trade Business Advisor, Washington Small Business Development Center.

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Left to right: Greater Seattle Partners CEO Brian Surratt; SBA Regional Administrator Michael Fong; Challenge Seattle Vice President Stephanie Formas; SBA OIT Associate Administrator Gabriel Esparza; SBA OIT Export Finance Manager John Brislin; Port of Seattle Commissioner Sam Cho; City of Seattle Budget Office Director Julie Dingley; and former Governor, Commerce Secretary and Ambassador Gary Locke.

SBA Regional Administrator Michael Fong hosted OIT Associate Administrator Gabriel Esparza in Seattle April 18-19 for several discussions promoting small business exports with various leaders, including City of Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and former Governor, Commerce Secretary and Ambassador Gary Locke. Engaging discussions were also held with Greater Seattle Partners, Port Commissioner Sam Cho, Challenge Seattle, Washington State Department of Commerce, Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, Banner Bank, Seattle Latino Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and others.

Associate Administrator Esparza Visits Los Angeles to Present Export Lender of the Year Award

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SBA OIT Associate Administrator Gabriel Esparza (third from left) visited Los Angeles to present an award to Dr. Dennis Lam, GBC Bank CEO and Chairman (middle), one of the Export Lenders of the Year. SBA OIT Lead Export Finance Manager Pellson Lau (end, left) joined the presentation.

OIT Associate Administrator Gabriel Esparza continued his West Coast tour this month raising small business export awareness in Los Angeles. On April 20, he kicked off the day with the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce. Then he presented the SBA Export Lender of the Year award to GBC International Bank before meeting with the Milken Institute. Dr. Ray Bowman and Simona Racek of the California SBDC led a productive listening session with small business exporters who have used STEP grants. Associate Administrator Esparza wrapped up the day lecturing on the crossroads of technology and public policy at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

Changes Coming to 232 Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum Imports from the UK

On March 22, the U.S. and UK reached agreement on working together to address challenges in the steel and aluminum sector and to re-establish bilateral trade flows in steel and aluminum.  As a result of this agreement, the U.S. Commerce Department will take steps to replace the current 25% steel and 10% aluminum Section 232 tariffs imposed on imports of those products from the United Kingdom with a tariff rate quota (TRQ) by June 1, 2022.  Once the TRQ is in place, imports under the quota will be imported duty-free. Any imports above the quota would still be subject to the respective Section 232 tariffs, unless there is an exclusion in place. For more details on the coming changes, please review Commerce’s Announcement of Actions on UK Imports Under Section 232.

USTR Reinstates Certain Exclusions from China Tariffs

Following a public comment period last fall, on March 23, USTR reinstated certain exclusions from the tariffs that were imposed as a result of the Section 301 investigation of China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation. 352 of the 549 eligible exclusions were reinstated. To find out if a product you are importing from China may benefit from one of the exclusions, you can review the list here or use USTR’s search tool here.  If you have questions, you can also contact USTR’s Section 301 Hotline at 202-395-5725.

The exclusions are available for any product that meets the description in the product exclusion and are not just for the companies that petitioned for the exclusion. Each exclusion is retroactively reinstated to October 12, 2021, and are in effect until December 31, 2022.  Customs and Border Protection has also issued guidance how to seek reimbursement for tariffs paid.

Register for the Exporting Webinar in Spanish

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May 11, 2022, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. EST

Enlace de registro de Eventbrite.

World Trade Month Feature Event

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SBA Grants, Counseling, and Financing to Facilitate Global Market Sales

May 17, 2022, 1- 2 p.m. EST

Demand for U.S. products and services is on the rise. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has resources that can help you take advantage of these opportunities.

This webinar will feature three successful small business exporters that have utilized Small Business Development Center (SBDC) counseling and SBA export promotion resources to grow global sales.

There is no cost for the webinar, but advance registration is required.


FY 22 STEP Applications Due May 31

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Scroll to 4:34:00 and hear how grantee Debra Dudley of Oscarware used STEP funds to export overseas.

The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFO) for Fiscal Year 2022 of the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is now open until May 31, 2022. The NOFO invites proposals for funding from eligible state entities interested in and capable of providing assistance and guidance to eligible small businesses to increase the number of those that export and the dollar value of small business exports.

The NOFO makes $20 million available. Applicants can apply for awards ranging from a minimum of $100,000 to up to $2 million per year for 2 years. Read more here and watch a video here of how grantee Debra Dudley of Kentucky used STEP funds to export overseas.

Webinar on Understanding Cross-Border E-Commerce: Website Best Practices and Tax Responsibilities

May 5, 2022, at 11 a.m. ET

Join the U.S. Commercial Service for a discussion on practical website updates companies can make to immediately increase their visibility to international customers. Additionally, tax responsibilities for eCommerce transactions will also be reviewed. The speakers, Nate Wheeler, Owner, weCreate LLC, and Britta Eriksson, Co-founder, EuroVAT Refund will discuss:

  • Website changes that can take under an hour but can increase viable traffic by up to 20%
  • How to track results of marketing efforts with free and easy tools
  • Positioning your company in search results internationally
  • Your Value Added Tax (VAT) responsibilities for eCommerce transactions to Europe

This webinar costs $25 and pre-registration is required. Register HERE

For more information, contact or This session will not be recorded so join us live. Additionally, the first 50 U.S. companies who register will receive a free SEO Site Checkup of their website.

Webinar on Accessing the UK Market and Product Certification Requirements

May 6, 2022, at 11 am ET

Join the U.S. Commercial Service and speakers from BSI Group and the British Consulate General New York for a discussion on the new certification requirement, when and how to use the UKCA mark, as well as an overview on the basics of doing business in the UK along with resources available for companies interested in these opportunities.

This webinar costs $25 and pre-registration is required. Register HERE.  For more information, contact

US-EU Workshop on Technology Standards

 May 6, 2022, 12:30 – 17:30 GMT

Please join the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) Technology Standards Working Group (WG1) for a hybrid workshop event. The U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission cordially invite interested stakeholders to listen and participate in the following three panels:

  1. Best practices for stakeholders’ engagement, in particular involvement of SMEs, startups, academics, and civil society in standards development.
  2. How to work together in the development of standards for emerging technologies?
  3. How can standards help support trade in goods with recycled content?

This webinar is free, but you must pre-register.  Please click here to register your interest by April 28, 2022, to participate in the workshop. If interested in speaking, please indicate on which panel and provide a brief description of your talk.

Additional information on the TTC can be found at ITA’s TTC webpage. Questions on the TTC Technology Standards Working Group can also be directed to the TTC Tech Standards WG mailbox.

Global E-Commerce Trends in 2022 Webinar Series

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Canada and Mexico
Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT

Join the U.S. Commercial Service for its virtual Coffee Chat series highlighting eCommerce opportunities around the world. This series will include market observations, business opportunities, and highlights within the industry from distinguished presenters worldwide. Learn how to engage with the U.S. Commercial Service to connect to hundreds of importers and buyers worldwide.

In 2021 there were over 27 million eCommerce users in Canada, accounting for 72.5% of the Canadian population and expected to grow to 77.6% and total $40.3 billion by 2025. 50.7 million Mexican eCommerce users make up the $15.8 billion eCommerce market in Mexico, representing an 81% increase over 2019. Join us to learn about current market trends and regulatory concerns in these markets. Register HERE.

The webinar is free, but pre-registration is required. For more information, contact and

Trade Resources

SBA’s Trade Hotline

Do you have questions about tariffs or customs compliance, need information on new international markets, or advocacy on your behalf with a foreign government regarding a pending contract?  Please call the SBA toll free (855) 722-4877 or email your contact information and trade issues to

What does it mean to be export ready?

Wondering when it's best to start looking for international sales opportunities? Watch our short video and check out an assessment to help determine if your business is in an ideal position for growth.

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