By Daniel Hunter

The controversial trade deal between the EU and the US puts small businesses at the heart of it, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

After talks with seven European leaders, including Prime Minister David Cameron, and other business organisations, the FSB stressed that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will be good for small businesses.

FSB Policy Chairman Mike Cherry said: “With 25% of small firms exporting and even more looking to start, we need to work harder to break down existing trade barriers, reduce tariffs and crucially make sure the right support is in place for businesses seeking to increase exports or to begin trading internationally for the first time as a way to grow their businesses.

“This is a hugely important agreement for small firms and we need to make sure we see a robust small business chapter come out of the negotiations. It’s so significant because if we can conclude a successful outcome, TTIP will set a precedent for all future trade agreements.

“This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. After the EU, North America is the largest export market for many of our members and we need to ensure we have the right regulatory environment in place to realise their ambitions."

The TTIP has attracted criticism from activists who believe it will lead to the privatisation of the NHS and other public services.

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