The battle over China's trade status has been cast as Corporate America vs. Big Labor. But the stakes also are high for the littlest businesses. Companies with fewer than 20 employees generated over 25% of U.S. exports to China, according to 1997 data (the most recent year available). Most small exporters are selling services, such as legal, financial, and logistical help, says Myron Brilliant at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Small manufacturers, many led by Chinese immigrants, also are boosting small business' slice of the pie.

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