The Department of Business Assistance (DBA) serves Texas businesses and communities and works to strengthen their competitiveness by promoting international trade, foreign direct investment, business retention and expansion (BRE), as well as small business advocacy and entrepreneurial support.
As the top exporting state in the nation for 14 consecutive years, Texas, with over $251 billion in exports for 2015, continues to be the leader in international trade. With its unique combination of strategic location, the largest U.S. rail and road infrastructure, the most U.S. ports of entry, a multilingual workforce twice the national average, a vibrant international banking center, a diplomatic hub with a Consular Corps representing some 90 nations, as well as a concentration of corporate and financial resources, Texas is truly a global trade powerhouse. Many international firms base facilities such as warehousing, distribution, and manufacturing in Texas to take advantage of its excellent access to global markets.
From Texas, small, medium, and large businesses alike have found great success in doing business globally. Far from being the exclusive domain of large corporations, export trade in Texas is driven by its most innovate, nimble, and oftentimes small firms. In fact, more than 90 percent of all Texas exporters are small businesses – and their numbers continue to grow. With its extensive global ties, Texas has a natural advantage in exporting knowledge-intensive services and has become a major global exporter of high value-added services, including accounting, communications, consulting, engineering, financial, legal, medical, and transportation services. For a snapshot of the Texas trade profile, click here.
The following websites are intended to provide Texas small businesses with the necessary resources to take advantage of export opportunities and the growing global marketplace. Small businesses will find information including trade counseling, training, legal assistance, and publications to help them reach the next level of global competition.
- Export.gov brings together resources from across the U.S. government to assist American businesses in planning their international sales strategies and succeed in today’s global marketplace.
- The International Trade Administration (ITA) strengthens the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promotes trade and investment, and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of our trade laws and agreements. ITA works to improve the global business environment and helps U.S. organizations compete at home and abroad. ITA supports President Obama’s recovery agenda and the National Export Initiative to sustain economic growth and support American jobs.
- US CBP is one of the Department of Homeland Security’s largest and most complex components with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. It also has a responsibility for securing and facilitating trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. regulations, including immigration and drug laws.
- The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank’s mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. Ex-Im Bank enables U.S. companies – large and small – to turn export opportunities into real sales that help maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy. Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private sector lenders but provides export financing products that fill gaps in trade financing. Ex-Im Bank provides working capital guarantees (pre-export financing), export credit insurance, and loan guarantees and direct loans (buyer financing).
- As US SBA’s office for the support of small business international trade development, the Office of International Trade (ITA) works in cooperation with other federal agencies and public and private-sector groups to encourage small business exports and to assist small businesses seeking to export. Through 19 U.S. Export Assistance Centers, SBA district offices, and a variety of service-provider partners, ITA directs and coordinates SBA’s ongoing export initiatives in an effort to encourage small businesses going global.
- The U.S. Commercial Service has a network of export and industry specialists located in more than 100 U.S. cities and over 80 countries worldwide. These trade professionals provide counseling and a variety of products and services to assist small and midsized U.S. businesses export their products and services.
- There are four Texas District Export Councils in Texas, all under a nationwide network of DECs which make a significant contribution to America’s international competitiveness. The Texas DECs are a diverse group of volunteer international trade professionals who meet for periodic sessions addressing international issues and awareness. Members are exporters of manufactured products and services, providers of export support services (accounting, finance, legal, transportation, etc.), academia, and leaders of non-profit organizations of state and local government.
- The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) links U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security. In addition to its Washington, D.C. staff, FAS has a global network of 98 offices in 75 countries covering 156 countries. These offices are staffed by agricultural attachés and locally hired staff that are the eyes, ears, and voice for U.S. agriculture around the world. FAS staff identify problems, provide practical solutions, and work to advance opportunities for U.S. agriculture and support U.S. foreign policy around the globe.
- Foreign-trade zones (FTZs) – the U.S. variation on the general “free trade zone” concept – are secure areas under the supervision of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that are considered outside the customs territory of the United States for the purposes of duty payment.