International Trade:

Small- and Medium-sized U.S. Business Export Statistics

NSIAD-00-57R: Published: Mar 31, 2000. Publicly Released: May 2, 2000.

Additional Materials:


Benjamin F. Nelson
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Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on U.S. business export statistics, focusing on the: (1) number of small- and medium-sized companies that export goods; (2) value of these companies' exports; (3) types of firms that export; and (4) types of products they export.

GAO noted that: (1) in 1997, about 202,000 small- and medium-sized companies exported goods; (2) these companies accounted for 97 percent of U.S. exporters; (3) the number of U.S. small- and medium-sized exporters almost doubled from 1992 through 1997; (4) exports by these small- and medium-sized companies were valued at $172 billion in 1997, which is the most recent year for which data is available, and accounted for 31 percent of exported U.S. goods; (5) wholesalers, manufacturers, and other companies such as freight forwarders each accounted for roughly one third of the total number of small- and medium-sized exporters; (6) the largest four product groups that they exported were industrial machinery and computers, electric and electronic equipment, transportation equipment, and chemical products; and (7) these four groups accounted for over half of all exports by small- and medium-sized companies.

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