On June 26, the House Committee on Small Business heard testimony regarding the challenges that small businesses face when attempting to conduct business across borders. Some of these barriers include restrictive trade agreements, customs regulations and non-tariff related expenses. All of which can add up to a significant hindrance for price-sensitive small businesses eager to expand their market.
Mariana Huberman, a Washington, D.C.-based UPS Store franchisee and second vice chairwoman of IFA’s Franchisee Forum, was among those to testify. Huberman gave committee members real-world insight into some of the challenges she faces as an international shipping provider. Her presence on the panel demonstrated the committee’s specific concerns that complex trade barriers can have on franchise small-business owners reliant on conducting business abroad. “The impact is small businesses will choose not to ship internationally,” said Huberman.
While discussing challenges she faces, Huberman recognized advantages she has as a UPS Store franchisee. The UPS Store offers its franchisees customs-brokerage services in more than 60 countries and 80 years of experience, benefits non-franchise businesses may not enjoy.
The hearing, titled, Ready to Export: Small Business Policy Recommendations for the U.S. Trade Representative, was led by Sam Graves the chairman of the House Committee on Small Business. Chairman Graves made clear his hopes: “to hear from small businesses about the administration’s trade policy agenda, and specifically how to help increase U.S. exports and create new good paying U.S. jobs,” as well as “developing an aggressive trade strategy to open new markets for U.S. exporters.”
Both of those goals will have significant, positive impact for franchisees such as Huberman. Discussing her impressions of the hearing, she expressed her interest in “increasing revenue through leveling the playing field” saying “at the end of the day, it’s about fairness.”