Only 33% of small and mid-sized businesses in the U.S. are taking part in cross-border trade, according to the UPS Business Monitor United States, a survey of 600 business decision-makers.

Only 33% of small and mid-sized businesses in the U.S. are taking part in cross-border trade, according to the UPS Business Monitor United States, a survey of 600 business decision-makers.

Of those engaged in cross-border trade, 15% are importers, 9% are exporters, and 9% are both importers and exporters.

The survey shows that many American (small businesses) haven’t gone global yet, says David Abney, chief operating officer of UPS. And if they don’t take part in trade, they stand to lose their competitive edge in a business environment that continues to transcend international orders.

Among the small businesses that either import or export, 45% perceive global trade as a benefit while 18% see it as a disadvantage. 52% say global expansion will help them remain competitive or create an opportunity to increase profits. 25% believe global expansion could lead to competition that will cut into profits.

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Of the small businesses that import, 88% say they expect their import volume will either increase or stay the same over the next year; 32% say it will increase and 56% say it will stay the same.

Of the small businesses that export, 95% say they expect the amount of their exports to increase or stay the same over the next year; 44% say it will increase and 51% say it will remain the same.

Reasons cited by survey respondents for not engaging in international trade include a perception that it is too risky, a lack of knowledge about international markets, unfamiliarity with customs regulations and disinterest in expanding business beyond U.S. borders.

TNS, a global market research firm, conducted the survey for UPS.

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