The following is an excerpt from Dr. Toby Malichi, originally published in The Hill. Read the full piece here. Dr. Malichi is the founding CEO and global business diplomat of Malichi Group Worldwide, based in Indianapolis. Dr. Malichi advises small and medium-sized enterprises (or SME’s) as they expand internationally. Working with his clients, he sees firsthand what it takes to run a successful business and he can provide concrete examples of how the government can improve its policies and programs to better help SME’s thrive. Learn more about Dr. Malichi here.

Believe it or not, across Indiana, international trade is a big business for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMEs). Indeed, of the more than 8,000 Indiana businesses who exported goods or services to consumers around the world last year, 85 percent of them are small(ish) and locally-owned, not large corporations with household names that most assume benefit from international trade.

For over three and a half decades, I have worked with businesses of all sizes desperate to expand their reach from Indiana to the entire world, as an SME-leader and free trade agreement advocate since NAFTA. It’s an exciting challenge and our state and federal governments offer many wonderful programs to help businesses get off the ground.

Thanks to the efforts of the Indiana Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Commerce, of which I am its Indiana District Export Council Vice Chairman, more companies are going global than ever before.

Yet no program is more effective at establishing deeper ties with rapidly expanding economies than new free trade agreements. I fear that America’s current attitudes toward trade will set our small and medium businesses back—ceding ground on the global stage to massive corporations and their armies of trade lawyers and lobbyists. Continue reading this opinion piece by Dr. Toby Malichi in The Hill.