Key elements such as tariff abolition, better Market access for EU service providers and access to intermediate goods were highlighted as main benefits.
The European Committee of the Regions (ECR) and EUROCHAMBRES have jointly conducted the survey over the months (2019), with an objective to recognise opportunities and obstacles faced in the implementation of EU FTAs.
The survey report highlights some deficiencies with regard to the lack of awareness among SMEs when using FTAs in practice.
“The expertise of chambers and regions will be key in ensuring that measures taken will help small businesses and local communities across the EU to seize the potential of FTAs,” the ECR said in a statement.
The survey report titled “Implementation of Free Trade Agreements Challenges and opportunities for businesses and regions”, revealed key opportunities and challenges .
According to the survey results, elements such as tariff abolition, better market access for EU service providers and access to intermediate goods were highlighted as main benefits.
The report suggests that challenges for FTA implementation need to be better addressed to ensure that businesses and regions can fully benefit from the opportunities of such trade agreements.
In particular more practical information on how to use trade agreements and how to access public tenders in foreign markets, reducing the complexity and lack of coherence on rules of origin, as well as the administrative burden relating to customs procedures were identified as key challenges.
The report also said that there is a clear need for practical guidance on how SMEs and regions can engage in trade with third countries and for more informative activities with the business community at regional and local level (trainings, seminars, workshops, roadshows, etc.) which can help amplify the reach of practical information and provide support to SMEs in all regions.
The survey is based on feedback from regions and chambers of commerce covering all EU member states.