TTIP: making EU-US trade beneficial for fur SMEs

February 23, 2016 - European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the fur sector trading with the US have to face many obstacles that erode their margin of profit and in most cases make the opportunities offered by transatlantic trade too risky or uninteresting. Fur Europe interviewed European retailers from different countries to collect their concerns and proposals.

The European Union and the United States have the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world, accounting for nearly a third of total world trade flows. In order to further improve this reality, the green light was given in 2013 by both sides of the Atlantic to initiate the negotiations for the TTIP and address the obstacles holding the untapped potential of this trade relation.

In order to make the most of these negotiations, Fur Europe decided to gather on-the-field testimonies from European SMEs in the fur sector to understand what the actual obstacles are that traders face in their daily transatlantic transactions. Representatives of six SMEs from Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and Spain were interviewed in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The interviews show that when it comes to trading with the US, SMEs have to retrieve scattered information from the public bodies concerning the documentation and the steps they need to follow; they face excessive paperwork and red-tape, long custom procedures leading to delays and costs, capital exposure that renders transatlantic trade too risky, and, in general, is less fitting for SMEs than for larger companies.

All the interviewees agree that the TTIP raises the opportunity to find solutions to these problems, and suggest several proposals, including the creation of an online system to present the documents accompanying their products in advance, an online one-stop shop where SMEs can easily understand the right procedure to trade with the US, the removal of unnecessary non-tariff barriers, the development of a common European insurance scheme to reduce the financial risk of SMEs and the creation of a match-making tool to reciprocally find partners on the other side of the Atlantic.

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TTIP: making EU-US trade beneficial for fur SMEs [PDF 4.3 Mo]