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TTIP: Opening the trade door for SMEs

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will benefit greatly from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), according to a new report released last week by the Atlantic Council.

The report, The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Big Opportunities for Small Business, puts to rest tired arguments which set large corporations against small companies. In truth, they would both gain from a comprehensive agreement.

More than 99% of businesses in the EU and the United States can be classified as SMEs. Their economic importance cannot be underestimated. Yet, they often face the greatest hurdles, or are the least well informed, when it comes to international trade.

TTIP would help address the three main challenges faced by SMEs as identified by the Atlantic Council in this regard:

  • Uncertainty on how to get started with exporting;
  • Difficulty finding partners;
  • And unfamiliar legal and regulatory frameworks.

By reducing red tape or redundant regulatory and customs procedures, and harmonizing standards, TTIP will make doing business between the EU and the US easier. This would save SMEs time and money, allowing them to focus their precious resources on innovation and product development.

For Belgium, TTIP presents a real opportunity. Already, SMEs comprise 69% of Belgium’s exporting companies. Easing access into the US market would be a boon for them.

When negotiations are complete, hopefully by this time next year, AmCham Belgium looks forward to working together with the federal and regional governments to ensure the successful passage of TTIP in Belgium.