According to a new Atlantic Council report entitled The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Big Opportunities for Small Business, small and medium-sized enterprises in both the United States and European Union would benefit significantly from the implementation of an ambitious Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP). Using data from a targeted survey and interviews conducted with SME executives on both sides of the Atlantic, the study cites three core challenges for SMEs: a lack of clarity on how to get started, problems finding the right clients, and what the report calls a “confusing mix of regulatory differences and contradictory registration requirements.”

“As two highly-regulated, highly-competitive, and highly-integrated markets, it only makes sense the United States and European Union endeavor to remove some of the unnecessary barriers that still exist between them,” according to Garrett Workman, associate director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics program and author of the study, which was supported by FedEx.

TTIP marks the first time that an American or European trade agreement will include a specific chapter on SMEs and particular recommendations to help SMEs based in the United States and the twenty-eight nations of the European Union increase trade and investment between the world’s two largest economies.   

“With the tremendous increase in online shipping, it is critically important to our small and medium-sized business customers in America and Europe that we streamline rules, cut red tape, lower tariffs and harmonize regulations to make transatlantic trade simpler, cheaper and more seamless.” said Raj Subramaniam, FedEx executive vice president.  “The goal of TTIP is to create a mutually beneficial agreement that will open up more economic growth and opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.”

The study also provides key policy recommendations, including:
·         Eliminating transatlantic tariffs;
·         Raising duty-free threshold for shipping to $800;
·         Simplifying product testing and safety certification processes;
·         Recognizing equivalent standards across the Atlantic; and
·         Making the regulatory process more transparent.

In addition, the report emphasizes that demystifying the export process by providing better shared resource information and an integrated, regularly-updated website of available export assistance services across the United States and European Union will enable more SMEs to become active exporters, creating sustainable economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

While TTIP can make a real difference in jumpstarting the transatlantic economy, the effect of a successful TTIP agreement goes far beyond the US-EU trade relationship, the author notes.  It sends “a strong message to international partners that open markets paired with efficient regulatory regimes backed by the rule of law remain the world’s most effective economic model.”

The report will be launched at an Atlantic Council event in Washington on Friday, November 14th at 8:30 a.m. EST. Speakers include Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN), co-chair of the TTIP caucus, senior officials from USTR and the EU Delegation in Washington, as well as senior small business executives from Michigan and California.

Download the study here.

About the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program:
The Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program works to strengthen the already deep economic integration between Europe and the United States as well as promote transatlantic leadership in the global economy. Bringing together top business leaders, government policy makers, and economic experts, the program explores transatlantic and global issues of importance to the US and European business community. Our aim is to identify areas for cooperation as well as convergence in policy in an effort to promote an open and mutually beneficial environment for transatlantic business and trade.

About FedEx: 
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $46 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 300,000 team members to remain “absolutely, positively” focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities.