Vast Majority of US SMB Leaders See Trade as Crucial for Growth

The FedEx Small Business Trade Index, which gathered insights from 1,000 small- and medium-business leaders across the United States, reveals that an overwhelming 75% of respondents believe trade directly benefits their operations. The survey, carried out by Morning Consult between February 14 and 24, 2024, delves into how technology and trade policies shape the business landscape.

According to the findings, trade not only fuels the growth of the U.S. economy, with 88% of SMB leaders agreeing on its significance, but also plays a critical role in job creation, as 85% of participants acknowledged. The data presents a compelling narrative about the interconnectedness of global markets and the need for U.S. businesses to remain competitive on the world stage.

Raj Subramaniam, President and CEO of FedEx Corporation emphasized the necessity of reevaluating trade agreements to enhance market access for U.S. businesses. “Trade opens new markets for businesses of all sizes and offers opportunities for engagement at a time when connectivity is needed most,” Subramaniam stated, advocating for policies that foster fair and intelligent supply chains globally.

The survey highlights the dependency of U.S. SMBs on international trade, with more than two-thirds reporting reliance on imported goods for production or distribution. Furthermore, 82% of respondents acknowledge the crucial role of imports in supporting domestic jobs. The burgeoning growth of e-commerce and technological advancements are hailed as pivotal to facilitating global trade, with an impressive 86% of SMB leaders identifying these factors as key drivers of business expansion.

However, the path to leveraging global trade is not without its challenges. Shipping delays and geopolitical disruptions have emerged as significant barriers, affecting 84% of the surveyed leaders. The report also touches on the importance of trade policies, such as the de minimis provision, which simplifies the trade paperwork process for low-value goods. A significant 80% of business leaders warn that eliminating this provision would negatively impact their operations.

Amidst the evolving trade landscape, SMB leaders remain optimistic about the potential of global trade to stimulate growth, create jobs, and foster innovation compared to a decade ago. An overwhelming 95% of respondents support initiatives to retrain and upskill workers impacted by increased trade, highlighting the need for a skilled workforce to compete globally.

As FedEx continues to operate the world’s largest transportation network, moving over 15 million packages daily to more than 220 countries and territories, the company’s commitment to understanding and enhancing the trade environment for U.S. SMBs remains steadfast. This survey serves as a valuable tool for measuring the pulse of U.S. businesses on the global stage, offering insights that could shape future policies and strategies in the ever-evolving realm of international trade.

For more detailed insights, the 2024 FedEx Trade Index Survey Results are available, shedding light on the intricate relationship between trade, technology, and policy in driving U.S. business growth.

Image: Depositphotos

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