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Parliamentary questions
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20 January 2016
E-014030/2015(ASW)
Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-014030/2015

More than 619 000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are trading outside the EU accounting for 32% of EU exports. The Commission is aware of the internationalisation challenges facing SMEs, in particular due to their limited resources. SMEs are encouraged to provide comments to trade negotiations in public consultations which feed into impact assessments before a negotiation and sustainability impact assessments of ongoing negotiations. An SME survey was carried out for TTIP, the result of which was summarised in the report ‘SMEs and the TTIP’(1). SMEs reach also negotiators through Member States, the European Parliament or SME intermediary organisations.

SMEs benefit from the EU market access strategy more than large companies because they are disproportionally affected by trade barriers, in particular those of regulatory nature. Trade agreements and enforcement are lowering export related costs and enable SMEs to compete on global markets. The Commission also provides services to facilitate export activities such as the Market Access Database, Intellectual Property Right SME Helpdesks, SME Trade Defence Helpdesk, the Enterprise Europe Network and SME internationalisation projects in Asia and Latin America.

To ensure that SMEs take more advantage of trade agreements, the Commission will include SME provisions in future agreements. For the first time the EU is negotiating an SME chapter in an FTA (TTIP), which will include cooperation, information sharing and an SME Committee.

(1)http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2015/april/tradoc_153348.pdf

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