For Immediate Release: December 4, 2012
Contact: Lorri Crowley (202) 482-3809
Commerce and European Union Officials Sign MOU to Promote SME Transatlantic Trade
Officials Advance Transatlantic Economic Council Priority to Support Small Business
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) and the European Commission Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry (DGE) announced this week a joint initiative to better support and promote transatlantic trade among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). At the 4th U.S.-EU SME Workshop, held at the White House Conference Center, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance Michael Camuñez and Director General for Enterprise and Industry Daniel Calleja Crespo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which formalizes efforts between ITA and DGE to collaborate on a wide range of trade promotion, information sharing, and policy initiatives that will facilitate the ability of SMEs to access EU, U.S., and third-country markets.
The enhancement of U.S.-EU trade among SMEs has been a significant priority for the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), the principal bilateral economic platform between the United States and the European Union. As a result, the SME Workshop was launched in 2011 by USTR, the Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration. “The MOU we signed this week reflects a concrete commitment on the part of our governments to support SMEs as they engage in transatlantic trade,” said Assistant Secretary Camuñez. “It also further advances a TEC priority to better address the particular challenges SMEs face in our respective markets and globally.”
Among other things, the MOU between ITA and the DGE’s Enterprise Europe Network is intended to facilitate the exchange of information about SMEs and promote international trade and business cooperation between U.S. and European SMEs. In addition, the MOU will facilitate the undertaking of specific initiatives to address market access and other barriers that constrain the growth of SME trade and investment.
The signing was witnessed by small business stakeholders, including the Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Small and Minority Business (ITAC 11), District Export Councils, and other U.S. and EU private sector representatives, along with U.S. and EU officials from USTR, SBA, DG Trade and DG Enterprise, who attended the workshop. Participants discussed intellectual property rights protection for small business, the impact of standards on small business access to markets, SME financing tools, geographic clusters with a specific industry focus including SME suppliers, and best practices in entrepreneurial programs for women and youth.
The full text of Assistant Secretary Camuñez’s remarks at the signing are available at http://trade.gov/press/speeches/2012/camunez-120312.asp.
International Trade Administration
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