H.R. 4041: Export Promotion Reform Act

H.R. 4041

Export Promotion Reform Act

Sen. Bernard Sanders

May 30, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, May 30, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 4041, the Export Promotion Reform Act, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority for approval.  The bill was originally introduced on February 15, 2012, by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.  The committee held a mark-up session on March 7, 2012, and ordered the bill to be reported by unanimous consent. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 4041 would amend the Export Enhancement Act of 1988 to revise the duties of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC).  The bill would require the TPCC to review the proposed annual budget of each federal agency, before it is submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the president, when (as required by current law) assessing the appropriate levels and allocation of resources among such agencies in support of export promotion and export financing.

The bill would also require the TPCC, in conducting the review of current federal programs designed to promote the sale of U.S. exports and developing a government-wide strategic plan for such efforts, to take into account recommendations from a representative number of U.S. exporters, particularly small business and medium-sized businesses, and representatives of U.S. workers.

Additionally, the bill would direct the president to issue an executive order and necessary regulations to provide the TPCC chairperson with the authority to ensure that the TPCC carries out each of its duties and develops and implements the strategic plan.

The bill would also require the Secretary of Commerce to do the following: (1) conduct, at least once every five years, a global assessment of overseas markets to determine those with the greatest potential for increasing U.S. exports, and (2) redeploy U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service personnel and other resources on the basis of that assessment.

Lastly, the bill would amend the Foreign Service Act of 1980 to require each chief of mission to a foreign country to develop an approved plan for effective diplomacy to remove or reduce obstacles to exports of U.S. goods and services.


According to background information from the bill’s sponsor: “With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living overseas, expanding US exports in world markets is one of the best ways for American businesses to grow and create jobs. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, for every $1 billion in U.S. exports, 6,000 manufacturing jobs are supported here at home. The Export Promotion Reform Act is designed to increase the export of American made goods and services, and in turn create new jobs here at home at no additional cost to taxpayers.”

Additionally: “All major trading nations conduct export promotion activities on behalf of their nations’ exporters. In the United States, seven different government agencies are tasked with supporting American companies through every step of the export process. An interagency task force known as the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) is supposed to coordinate those various programs and develop a government-wide export promotion plan, but the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified a number of flaws and weaknesses in these efforts that limit their effectiveness.

According to the World Trade Organization, the U.S. share of global merchandise exports has dropped from 9.8% in 2003 to 8.7% in 2009. Over the same period, the U.S. has dropped from first place to third place, behind China and Germany, in the dollar value of national exports. Strengthening our export promotion efforts, as proposed in this legislation, can help reverse the U.S. decline in this critical area.”


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing this legislation would have discretionary costs of less than $500,000 a year, totaling about $1 million over the 2012-2017 period, assuming availability of appropriated funds.  Enacting H.R. 4041 would not affect direct spending; therefore pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.