Nov 14, 2014 - 11:30am

Small Businesses Expect Success with U.S.-EU Trade Deal

Former Director, International Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

American exporters stand to benefit in big ways as new trade agreements opening up foreign markets take shape. Recent headlines signal that new market-opening pacts are within reach to ease the flow of goods through customs and eliminate tariffs on information technology products. Negotiators are making significant progress in talks with the Asia-Pacific region and the European Union.

The Chamber continues to lead the business community's efforts to push for ambitious trade agreements. Without adding to the deficit, these agreements can bring significant gains to American companies, and in particular to small and medium-sized companies.

Small businesses are the principal driver of U.S. job growth, generating about two thirds of net new jobs. More than 97% of the 302,000 U.S. companies that export are small and medium-sized companies.

However, this figure represents just one of every 100 American firms, underscoring how difficult it is for smaller companies to enter export markets. Forging new trade pacts is critical to enabling small companies to gain greater entry to global markets.

The U.S. Chamber tells the stories of these companies, including the challenges they face and the opportunities a trade agreement could bring. Following are first-hand accounts provided to the Chamber by small businesses profiled in a report published today by the Atlantic Council entitled: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Big Opportunities for Small Businesses.

Elena Stegemann, Director of International Business for NuStep in Ann Arbor, MI says: Companies selling their products on both sides of the Atlantic incur high costs complying with both U.S. and European regulations, even when they are very similar. Being a small company that believes in building quality products that meet regulatory requirements, selling our products abroad has been a major regulatory compliance undertaking for us given our limited budget. Anything our government can do in its negotiations with the European Union to help streamline regulatory compliance for U.S. exporters would be of great benefit for a small company like NuStep. We are excited that the TTIP offers just such an opportunity for our company and tens of thousands of other small businesses across the United States. Read the full story here.

Glenn Leman, CEO of Health Enterprises located in North Attleboro, MA says: Around 38% of our export sales are directed to EU member states. Tariffs are relatively low, but we currently encounter issues of costly and time-consuming re-registration with our FDA-registered ‘Class 1 Medical Devices.’ There are also separate fees per item as well as an annual fee for the Ministry of Health to maintain a database. These requirements don’t serve to add any health or safety benefits. Health Enterprise thus stands to benefit greatly from a TTIP agreement that provides for improved standards and regulatory cooperation. Read the full story here.

The report provides recommendations to U.S. negotiators based on findings from small businesses. These recommendations are simple: Eliminate transatlantic tariffs, raise duty-free limits for small shipments (known as de minimis), ease regulatory barriers, recognize widely used standards, provide matchmaking services, and support export promotion efforts.

The Chamber could not agree more, and we will continue to provide input to negotiators and to serve as secretariat for the Business Coalition for Transatlantic Trade (BCTT).

Get involved! Join the BCTT, share your story, and take action to support the trade agenda now.


About the Author

About the Author

Former Director, International Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Stefanie Holland is the former Director for International Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.