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SMEs are the backbone of the European economy - TTIP will help them grow

SMEs on both sides of the Atlantic could benefit greatly from TTIP. Trade facilitation in the form of reduced bureaucracy and red tape could save European exporters millions at customs. This money is better spent on innovation and product development.

SMEs are the backbone of the European economy. They number more than 20 million firms that account for over 98% of all EU business. Such considerable numbers lead to significant societal value added – around 67% of all EU employment is in SMEs, and around 58% of EU gross value added is created in SME manufacturing and service activities. These businesses will benefit from TTIP in a number of ways including trade facilitation and tariff elimination on exports, increased transparency and improved access to public procurement, and enhanced investment protection and standards for the protection of intellectual property rights.

 

EU and US negotiators are discussing a specific chapter on SMEs as part of their TTIP negotiations. This could increase transparency and the availability of information for companies with limited resources to keep track of the many different country, state and regional-level product standards and safety regulations. A one-stop shop for such information is key. An SME help desk, that would serve businesses on both sides of the Atlantic, could provide a contact point for companies looking to expand their trade into new markets, and the types of legislative requirements their products will need to meet. This could help simplify bureaucratic procedures, and reduce red tape. 

 

Due to their size, SMEs often find it burdensome to collect all the necessary information on regulatory requirements for their products. TTIP could facilitate trade by addressing – amongst other onerous procedures – intermittent double inspection of EU imports into the US, compliance certificates for US customs procedures that take months to obtain, and complications that arise from different Rules of Origin for manufacturing, as well as tariff classifications for exported goods.

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