EU Trade Policy: how can FTAs better deliver for SMEs?

Briefing 08-03-2021

These briefings discuss how free trade agreements (FTAs) can help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It provides an overview of FTAs with provisions supporting SMEs internationalise. Based on a literature review, we also discuss the main challenges and concerns for SMEs doing business in third countries. First, we show the current situation of European SMEs with respect to internationalisation and highlight the corresponding benefits. Following previous literature on the topic, we distinguish between SMEs without international operations and SMEs that are already internationalised and discuss how different barriers can affect them. Finally, the last section discusses initiatives at the EU and national level to support SMEs and concludes with a set of recommendations how to better support them.