U.S. and EU Transatlantic Trade Talks Continue

October 9, 2013

pic-export-shipOn Oct. 7-8, the 5th U.S.-EU Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Workshop took place in Brussels. The Workshops were launched in 2011 in Brussels and Washington under the auspices of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), with the goal of enhancing trade and investment opportunities for U.S. and EU SMEs. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, in coordination with the European Commission’s Trade and Enterprise Directorates, launched these workshops to bring together U.S. and EU government officials, small businesses, and stakeholders to discuss current barriers and potential solutions to SME transatlantic trade.

Small businesses are the engines of economic growth and job creation on both sides of the Atlantic, yet they face a number of challenges that can inhibit their ability to engage in international trade. These meetings launched an ongoing dialogue between the U.S. and the EU, aimed at developing cooperative initiatives to enhance small-business participation in transatlantic trade, tackle trade barriers faced by SMEs in foreign markets, and exchange best practices on other policies of interest to small business, such as entrepreneurship and financing.

The last gathering of this group took place in Dec.  2012 and was hosted at the White House Conference Center by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro and EU Director General of Enterprise Daniel Calleja. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed 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 is intended to 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. 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.

Additionally, Ambassador Michael Froman recently made his first trip to Europe as U.S. Trade Representative, meeting with key EU officials and giving a speech at the German Marshall Fund on the importance of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). Ambassador Froman’s speech, delivered to an audience of academics, government officials, civil society and private sector representatives, and press, characterized T-TIP as a crucial opportunity to promote economic recovery and grow jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as to set high standards and new rules for the global trading system. The speech focused on transparency, participation, and accountability in regulatory and standard-setting processes as significant contributors to achieving the goals of the T-TIP negotiations, and emphasized the economic benefits both sides will realize as a result of a successfully negotiated T-TIP agreement.