A report released Tuesday from UPS found SMEs in Europe tend not to export abroad because of perceived risk and admin burden.
Concern felt by SMEs surveyed were mostly fear of lost or damaged goods and lack of knowledge of export processes.
Admin requirements for the US were seen as especially problematic in exporting to that country.
Lack of knowledge about the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) – a trade agreement in negotiation between the EU and US, which could reduce custom and tax barriers to EU SMEs – was a big part of the problem.
The UK and Germany were the most optimistic about exporting. Germany SMEs were most aware of TTIP, at 47 per cent; meanwhile, UK awareness was only 11 per cent.
At least 51 per cent (up to 81 per cent) of SMEs thought their exporting activity would not change within the next year.
However, Cindy Miller, president of UPS Europe, said European SMEs need to take advantage of opportunities abroad. “In a competitive global business climate, SMEs have to take advantage of these opportunities to expand their customer base abroad, increase their revenues, and create sustained growth.”
The vast majority of shipments sent by surveyed SMEs are for domestic and EU markets.
Italy, Germany and France have the largest number of exporting SMEs, while the UK, Belgium and Netherlands have the most developed export relationships with countries outside the union.
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