Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus released a statement Friday on a recent GAO report that he commissioned regarding the Commerce Department's export promotion programs.

The report recommends that the Commerce Department improve its system of charging US exporters fees for export promotion services.

In particular, it urges the US and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) to improve data collection and accuracy to make sure its fee structure does not keep small businesses from taking advantage of valuable export promotion services.

Currently, USFCS charges small businesses interested in exporting for export assistance services, including tailored market research and setting up appointments with potential buyers and partners in foreign markets.

Small American exporters are facing increasingly stiff competition for customers around the world, Baucus said.

We need to do everything we can to make sure small companies, like those in Montana, are getting the export promotion help they need from the Commerce Department.

Baucus said he urges Secretary (Gary) Locke to ensure that export promotion programs better help small businesses.

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