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SMEs require an appropriate framework to internationalise

02 April 2019
by smeunited -- last modified 02 April 2019

Crafts and SMEs in Europe lead commercial activities within the EU but still do not fully benefit from international opportunities. The right framework conditions and better information about global opportunities are the key to facilitating SMEs' access to international markets.


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SMEunited asks policy makers to take into account the SME needs while shaping the EU's trade policy. A comprehensive impact assessment on SMEs must be the standard when negotiating and concluding trade agreements. Additional crucial measures are: specific SME chapters in Free Trade Agreements, and building capacity of SME representative organisations.

This week, SMEunited continues its campaign for the European Elections with a focus on the internationalisation of SMEs," announced SMEunited President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller. "Today, European SMEs lead commercial activities in the Internal Market, but the EU must also provide them with a suitable framework to compete abroad". She recalled that SMEs represent 99.8% of all businesses in the EU, "further efforts must therefore be made to assist SMEs in tapping into the potential of global markets and to export to third countries."

SMEunited calls on the European Institutions to properly assess SMEs' characteristics before finalising a trade agreement, as well as evaluate its impact on locally active SMEs. "An example to apply is to include SME specific chapters in trade agreements, as within the EU-Japan FTA that recently entered into force."

Concerning the main challenges for internationalisation, she underlined that "our SMEs usually struggle with administrative procedures such as complicated rules on customs, standards and tax obligations." As a result, "the EU should keep promoting multilateral trade agreements to facilitate compliance through more uniform rules." Currently, "SMEs enjoy the EU's Single Market freedoms. The most common export and import destinations for SMEs are the other EU countries." This is also due to a lack of awareness on market opportunities outside the European Union. Therefore, "the European Institutions should support SME organisations in gaining the proper knowledge to internationalise and to export so that they can effectively pass the information on to SMEs."

SMEunited is the association of Crafts and SMEs in Europe with around 70 member organisations from over 30 European countries. SMEunited represents national cross-sectoral Craft and SME federations, European SME branch organisations and associate members.

SMEunited
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