The Future Of US Small Business Trade

December 12, 2016

As the 114th Congress comes to an end and we look forward to swearing in new federal leaders next year, many sellers have asked us about the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade policies that reduce trade frictions for small online retailers. In the Fall of 2015, the US concluded negotiations with 11 other countries on TPP. eBay supported that agreement because it reduced customs frictions for international ecommerce, encouraged countries to support an open global Internet, and gave small businesses a voice in evaluating international trade rules. 

Political momentum for TPP ratification has slowed with President-Elect Trump’s announced plans to withdraw the US from the agreement soon after being sworn in as President of the United States. There is, however, a good chance that the 115th Congress will consider updates to already existing trade agreements, like NAFTA, or support Administration efforts to engage in trade policy talks with other countries. 

eBay supports trade modernization efforts that reduce barriers to ecommerce, improve parcel delivery, maximize market access for small and medium businesses, and support other services vital for smaller exporters interacting with international customers. A series of reports conducted by the eBay public policy lab have found that over 90% of American small businesses on eBay export.  By comparison, less than 5% of traditional small businesses in the US export. Thus, we believe strongly that any trade policy negotiations should update our international rules to remove marketplace frictions and ensure small ecommerce businesses can provide foreign customers with a good buyer experience.

Be on the lookout for additional trade policy updates as the 115th Congress and new Administration settle into office.