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Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sapiro Leads U.S. Delegation to Transatlantic Economic Council’s Third “U.S.-EU Workshop on Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises" in Rome, Italy

From July 12-13, 2012, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro led a delegation of U.S. small business owners and officials from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Department of Commerce, and the Small Business Administration to the Transatlantic Economic Council’s third “U.S.-EU Workshop on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)” in Rome, Italy. Small business representatives from the Industry Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC) for Small and Minority Business (ITAC 11), the Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Consumer Goods (ITAC 4), and the Small Business Exporters Association all participated in the international event. More than 200 government officials and small business stakeholders attended events at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at Confindustria, a Rome-based Italian business association.

Opening Plenary Session of the U.S.-EU Workshop, seated left to right are EU SME
Envoy Daniel Calleja Crespo, European Commission VP Antonio Tajani, Italian
Undersecretary of State Marta Dassu, Ambassador Miriam Sapiro, U.S. Ambassador
to Italy David Thorne, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Maurizio Melani,
ITAC 11 Small and Minority Business Member Kim Benson, ITAC 11
Small and Minority Business Member Laszlo Horvath, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Representative Peter Chase.

USTR and the Department of Commerce, in coordination with the European Commission’s Trade and Enterprise Directorates, launched workshops to bring U.S. and EU government officials and small business owners together. Participants exchanged best practices, identified common challenges for small business seeking to export, and addressed barriers to trade that disproportionately affect small businesses. U.S. small business panelists discussed strategies for selling into EU markets, increasing export sales through e-commerce platforms, and small- and medium-sized business finance instruments, including loan guarantees, venture capital, crowd funding, and entrepreneurship programs and resources. The U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service and the EU Enterprise Directorate intend to use the direct input from these workshops to create a “Memorandum of Understanding to Promote U.S.-EU Trade and Business Partnership” that will be released later this year.

Business Panel on SME finance with Joseph Englert from the Small Business Exporters
Association, Randy Mitchell from the U.S. Department of Commerce,
and Sandro Murtas from the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. and EU hope to buttress small business participation in the $1 trillion U.S.-EU trade market by promoting economic growth and sustaining well-paying small business jobs. The next U.S.-EU SME workshop for small- and medium-sized businesses will be hosted by the United States in late fall of 2012, and will address additional issues of concern to these stakeholders, such as standards and intellectual property protection.

Business Panel on supporting SME access to international markets with (left to right) Didier
Herbert from DG Enterprise, Arnaldo Abruzzini from Eurochambres, Alberto Baban
from Tapi SRL, Signe Ratso from DG Trade, Christina Sevilla from USTR,
Lori Cooper from the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Elena
Stegemann from ITAC 4 (Consumer Goods).