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Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Advancing the interests of America’s largest employers: Small and medium-sized businesses.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the U.S. economy and are key contributors to economic growth in other TPP economies as well. The 28 million American SMEs account for nearly two-thirds of net new private sector jobs in recent decades. SMEs that export tend to grow even faster, create more jobs, and pay higher wages than similar businesses that do not trade internationally.
In 2014, 170,000 American small and medium-sized businesses exported nearly $180 billion worth of goods to TPP countries. Yet while 98 percent of U.S. exporters are small businesses, fewer than 5 percent of all U.S. businesses export goods. That means there is huge untapped potential for small businesses to increase revenues and support jobs by selling U.S. goods and services to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside our borders.
Our goal is to use TPP to provide SMEs the tools they need to compete across the Asia-Pacific region. TPP will benefit SMEs by eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers, streamlining customs procedures, strengthening intellectual property protection, promoting e-commerce, and developing more efficient and transparent regulatory regimes.
TPP will include a first-ever chapter focusing on issues that create particular challenges for SMEs.
  • Eliminate high tariffs across the TPP region that price out many goods and agricultural products sold by U.S. small businesses.
  • Streamline complex technical and administrative barriers that make it hard for small businesses to access new markets.
  • Promote digital trade and Internet freedom to ensure that small businesses can access the global marketplace.
  • Help small businesses integrate into global supply chains.
  • Secure commitments by TPP countries to provide access to information on utilizing FTAs – a problem that SMEs have identified as a disproportionate challenge for them.
  • Establish a Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises Committee that would meet regularly to review how well SMEs appear to be availing themselves of the benefits of TPP, and also consider recommendations on ways to further enhance the benefits of TPP for SMEs.


For more information on small- and medium-sized businesses, visit WWW.USTR.GOV/ISSUE-AREAS/SMALL-BUSINESS