Almost 1 year ago Christophe Hansen led a call from MEPs to set up a Rules of Origin Calculator. Today the Commission has responded to this call with the #Access2Markets tool. Christophe Hansen welcomes this concrete step to help SMEs access trade benefits more easily:

“We want foreign trade to benefit small and medium-sized companies more. Many of them are now facing a very difficult situation because of the Coronavirus. And even before the pandemic, SMEs struggled more than large companies to access the benefits of international trade agreements. I am pleased that Valdis Dombrovksis’ first action as Trade Commissioner is to come to the aid of small European companies”, said Christophe Hansen MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament.

‘Access2Markets’ will be an online portal in all EU languages that explains each of the EU’s trade agreements and their benefits. It will merge two existing tools – the ‘Market Access Database’ and the ‘Trade Helpdesk’ into a single access point for EU companies to obtain help when dealing with duty preferences, quotas and other bureaucracy outside Europe.

SMEs produce 58% of European Union GDP and account for 67% of all jobs in the private sector. They drive innovation and account for a vast majority of new jobs being created. Increasing supply chain resilience should start with SMEs. Helping them to take better advantage of international trade agreements to diversify their suppliers and sales markets is a step in the right direction. This portal is a concrete tool that will provide step-by-step guidance for this and comes as a response to a call by a group of MEPs, including my political group, almost a year ago for a tool to help SMEs identify opportunities more easily“, Hansen said.