WASHINGTON -- U.S. wood products firms are among small- and medium-sized enterprises whose exports support an estimated 4 million jobs in the United States. As might be expected, exporting firms are also better at generating jobs, says the  U.S. International Trade Commission report Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Characteristics and Performance.

In 2007, wood products firms generated $2.7 billion in manufactured wood products exports; $1.255 billion (28 percent) of it came from small- and medium-sized businesses; the rest by larger wood industry firms and wholesalers

The report also found that small and medium-sized firms tend to sell to foreign customers primarily through direct exports; large multinational firms, which rely more on sales through their foreign affiliates. Overall, smaller and medium-sized firms' direct exports accounted for about 28 percent of total U.S. exports in 2007. When intermediate products sold to large exporters are taken into account, smaller and medium-sized firms' share increases to approximately 41 percent.

The USITC survey also found trade barriers and other constraints impede the ability of SMEs' to export more severely than they do the ability of large firms. SME services exporters were more concerned than large services exporters about insufficient intellectual property protection abroad, foreign taxation, and obtaining financing. SME exporters of manufactured goods were more concerned than large firms about problems in finding foreign partners, difficulty in receiving and processing payments from abroad, and high tariffs.

Read the U.S. International Trade Commission's press release.

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