The Backbone of the Western Economy: Proposal for EU-US SME Collaboration

  • The EU-US Trade and Technology Council is a key mechanism to support transatlantic cooperation on tech, trade and standards.

  • SMEs are a crucial component of this effort as they represent the backbone of the Western economy.

  • To deliver concrete outcomes for SMEs on both sides of the Atlantic, DIGITAL SME proposes five key actions in the area of standards, sustainability, privacy and entrepreneurship.

The EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) is a forum where the United States and the European Union coordinate their approaches to global trade, economic and technological issues. It was established on 15 June 2021 during the EU-US Summit in Brussels. The TTC is comprised of ten working groups. The European DIGITAL SME Alliance has actively participated and contributed to the activities of Working Group 1 on ‘Technology Standards and Cooperation’ and Working Group 9 on ‘Promoting SME Access To and Use Of Digital Technologies’.

On November 21st, DIGITAL SME participated in the TTC Stakeholders Q&A session, hosted by Executive Vice-President (EVP) for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, and EVP for An Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis.

The objectives of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council outline the need to deepen transatlantic trade relations based on democratic and shared values. In this effort, SMEs are crucial stakeholders.

In the EU, they represent 99.8% of the Single Market. In the US, they account for two-thirds of new private sector jobs in recent decades. A strong digital SME sector can deliver increased prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic. SMEs that export tend to scale up faster and create more jobs. Their innovative products help us advance democratic approaches to technology and standards across the world. Moreover, these small-sized innovators can foster competitiveness and multiply incentives for innovation in the market. As a result, SMEs in both Europe and the US are natural drivers of an open, democratic and competitive tech ecosystem.

The TTC has the potential to deliver concrete results for SMEs on both sides of the Atlantic. To realise this potential, DIGITAL SME has published a proposal for an EU-US SME collaboration. The proposal lists five actionable steps that can be taken to enhance the participation of SMEs in the areas of trade, tech and standardization. We take stock of our past experiences with SME policy, innovation and advocacy to formulate these actions.

We propose the following activities to ensure concrete, practical, and efficient manifestation of the EU-US SME collaboration:

Activity 1 – Develop a transatlantic SME strategy on technology that sets priorities for collaboration based on common strategic objectives and democratic values.

Activity 2 – Collaborate on building SME capacity on standardisation by training and preparing a pool of SME experts to participate and lead Standardisation Technical Committees at both a European and international level.

Activity 3 – Establish sectoral Working Groups involving ICT SMEs from the EU and US, as well as their representative associations, to pursue the objectives of the SME strategy.

Activity 4 – Launch joint communication and dissemination campaigns to give greater visibility to SMEs’ sustainable digitalisation solutions.

Activity 5 – Establish an EU-US Tech SME Alliance as a single access point for SMEs to direct their concerns, share experiences, and unify efforts to improve fairness and competition in digital markets. It can also serve as an intermediary for both SMEs and SME representative associations based in other regions.

To learn more, read our full proposal here.

Contact Us