This week, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro and her European Union counterpart Daniel Calleja Crespo opened the Transatlantic Economic Council’s 4th U.S.-EU Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Workshop at the White House Conference Center. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Department of Commerce (DOC), and the Small Business Administration (SBA), in coordination with the European Commission’s Trade and Enterprise Directorates, launched these workshops to bring U.S. and EU government officials and small business owners together. Workshop participants exchange best practices, identify common challenges for small business seeking to export, and address barriers to trade that disproportionately affect small businesses.
At this week’s workshop session, Ambassador Sapiro lauded the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and the European Enterprise Network, a worldwide network of 600 business and innovation support organizations. The new MOU, which grew out of the U.S.-EU SME workshop meetings that began in 2011, will guide U.S.-EU cooperation on small business trade promotion activities, which will include joint trade shows, cooperation on small business events, small business networking opportunities and promotion of business partnering opportunities.
Ambassador Sapiro addresses the U.S.-EU Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Workshop with EU SME Envoy Daniel Calleja Crespo.
“We launched these U.S.-EU SME workshops with the aim of helping small businesses on both sides take better advantage of transatlantic trade opportunities and tackling barriers that may disproportionately affect small business,” Ambassador Sapiro said. “Ninety-six percent of all U.S. exporting companies to the EU were SMEs. Enabling more small and medium-sized business to engage in transatlantic trade – especially in the innovative goods and services that drive our trade and investment relationship – will sustain and create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Ambassador Sapiro and Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance Michael Camunez shake hands
after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, with the EU’s Director for DG Trade Signe Ratso and
Small Business Administration’s Associate Administrator for International Trade Dario Gomez.
The new MOU will be implemented in 2013, and will enable more small businesses to take advantage of transatlantic and third-country market business opportunities and contacts.
Small business stakeholders from the Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Small and Minority Business (ITAC 11), District Export Councils, and other U.S. and EU private sector stakeholders attended the workshop alongside officials from the U.S. and the EU. In addition to the new MOU, workshop participants discussed best practices in entrepreneurial programs for women and youth, intellectual property rights protection for small business, the impact of standards on small business access to markets, small business financing tools, and geographic clusters with a specific industry focus including small business suppliers.
Over 90 attendees listen as Ambassador Sapiro addresses this week's U.S. EU SME Workshop.