By Daniel Hunter

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has significant potential for small and medium sized enterprises, according to a report released in Brussels yesterday.

It presents the results of a survey of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) carried out in 2014 on challenges they face when exporting to the United States. It also uses newly available data to look at the scale of exports by EU SMEs to the United States.

Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade said: "Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the European economy. These companies will channel the benefits of TTIP back to their local communities. That's why the EU and the US are working to deliver an ambitious agreement that meets their concerns. This report helps us do that, by pointing out the concrete obstacles and the problems that we have to solve. This is one of the issues to be discussed when our negotiators are meeting this week.”

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs added:“SMEs stand to benefit most when we reduce non-tariff barriers and cut red tape. We are working on that in the EU Single Market and here we can see why it is so important to do the same thing in the TTIP negotiations.”

The report finds that SMEs are already big winners from transatlantic trade. 150,000 SMEs exported to the United States in 2012, accounting for 28% of all EU exports there. SMEs in sectors linked to food, beverages & agriculture; clothing, textiles & leather; as well as chemicals had an above-average share of EU exports.

However, the survey also shows that that EU SMEs see challenges in exporting to the US market, many of which can be eased by a TTIP agreement that is ambitious and comprehensive and maintains our high standards of regulatory protection.