Joint Statement on the 7th U.S.-EU SME Best Practices Workshop in the framework of the Transatlantic Economic Council

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
June 2, 2016

The European Commission's Directorate General for Trade (DG TRADE), the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration jointly convened the 7th Workshop for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Tallinn, Estonia, on the 2nd and 3rd of June 2016. This event was organized under the framework of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC). The Estonian government has strongly supported the organization of this event. About 100 participants from the EU and US attended, including officials, small business owners, business associations representing SMEs, Embassies of the EU Member States and other SME stakeholders.

The SME Workshop enabled business representatives to share experiences with officials responsible for SME policy in the EU and the US, and to exchange ideas on how to expand transatlantic business opportunities for SMEs. The opening remarks of the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Estonian minister for entrepreneurship, and directors of the European Commission underlined the political will to enhance EU-US bilateral SME cooperation and to progress in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations.

Panelists and participants discussed SME challenges and strategies relevant for both EU and US SMEs. The topics included support for SMEs and start-ups, access to alternative sources of finance, EU and US cooperation on SMEs and on business clusters. The panel presentations by the lead EU and US negotiators of the SME chapter in TTIP, the Estonian member of the EU Trade Policy Committee and SMEs representatives initiated a comprehensive discussion where in particular SMEs articulated their needs and expectations with regard to TTIP.

The EU and the US appreciated the comments of SME stakeholders, which will be considered in the TTIP negotiations and in the work of the TEC. In view of this successful event, the US side has proposed to convene the 8th EU-US SME Workshop in the US in 2017.