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EU-US talks seek help for SMEs

Friday, March 14 15:36:02

The EU's Chief Negotiator of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Ignacio Garcia Bercero, today confirmed that he and his US counterpart, Dan Mullaney, are seeking ways to help SMEs through the talks.

They said they were committed to exploring how make it easier for smaller firms to take advantage of the gains from the TTIP.

His comments came as EU and US officials ended a fourth round of week-long negotiations on an EU-US trade and investment agreement.

Commenting, Mr Garcia Bercero added that a chapter targeting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would be "a first for the European Union. It shows just how seriously we're taking the issue. Smaller firms employ the vast majority of people in both the EU and the US. They account for two out of every three private sector jobs in the EU. And they're the backbone of our economies, accounting for 99pc of all businesses in the EU. TTIP would help them expand - generating jobs and growth on both sides of the Atlantic."

The EU and US also published today a document focusing on smaller firms - how they could benefit from the agreement, and how the two sides plan to help those firms do so.

This fourth round of talks came just a few weeks after EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht met his US counterpart, Ambassador Mike Froman, to review progress so far in the negotiations. In addition to SMEs, EU and US negotiating teams spent the week discussing all three pillars of a future agreement - market access, the regulatory cluster and so-called 'rules' issues.