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09 October 2019

Trading Forward – FSB calls for small firms to be at the heart of international trade

  • Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman calls on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to adopt a comprehensive work programme for micro, small and medium enterprises.
  • Urges WTO members to work together to ensure that small firms are equipped with the right tools to succeed and go global.
  • Says the WTO and WTO members must ‘think small first’ when designing trade policy and negotiating international trade agreements.

A new report launched by FSB, at the WTO’s Public Forum in Geneva, calls for WTO members and the WTO as an institution to make the international trading system fit for small firms in order to help them achieve their international trade ambitions.

‘Trading Forward: A Small Business Plan for the World Trade Organisation’ focusses on the best ways to deliver and ensure that international trade and trade policy works for the smallest businesses.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, said: “The global trading system is currently in the midst of an unprecedented period of uncertainty caused by increasing levels of protection, the introduction of non-tariff barriers as well as continuing global uncertainty.”

“All of this provides the perfect storm which could negatively impact small firms not only in the UK but across the globe. This is the moment for national governments and for bodies such as the WTO to return to an open and free trading environment that works for all, including micro, small and medium enterprises.”

“Small firms are telling us that they face a number of barriers to trade - ranging from poor access to information, lack of export support, difficulties obtaining critical finance, and issues with customs. If small firms are to flourish on the global stage then we must ensure that these areas are tackled.

“We’ll be calling on WTO members to put small firms at the centre of their work by addressing barriers to participation, designing policy in a way that works for small firms, and working together to ensure small firms have the right tools to succeed.”

“If the recommendations made in this Small Business Plan are successfully implemented then we can work towards creating a trading system that helps small firms seize the opportunities presented by trade and helps ensure that the desire to trade globally becomes a natural part of a typical lifecycle of a business.”