Governments Challenged to Support More SME Export

Plus: Harper nudges Canada-EU trade talks forward, and how SMEs say they stay healthy on business trips—in this week's Export Wire for Canadian small business

Written by John Lorinc

Governments challenged to support exporters: In a recent report, the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants found that governments around the world are struggling to boost export activity among domestic SMEs. The study resonates in Canada, where the federal government has made SMEs a focus of its international trade efforts. One approach, the report says, is to develop policy that encourages SMEs to seek clients that are part of global supply chains.

“Although much of the SME participation in global value chains would not technically register as export activity, it provides access to new business practices, skills, technological advances, standards and information, which all come with greater exposure to international business. As a result, SMEs’ internal capacity is increased and thereby their ability to engage in international markets.

Better understanding of how global supply chains improve SMEs’ capacity and even lead to more direct involvement in international markets by SMEs should inform government policy aimed at increasing SME internationalisation.”

Harper wades into stalled trade talks: While participants at last week’s G20 in St. Petersburg were preoccupied with Syria and international measures to stop tax evasion, Prime Minister Stephen Harper used the occasion to apply a little bilateral pressure to European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, the Canadian Press reported Friday.  News wires also reported last week that EC negotiators were feeling more upbeat about finalizing a deal.

“Peter Stastny, the European Union’s rapporteur on the Canada-Europe negotiations, says he’s more optimistic than he was several months ago. Stastny says Harper’s office is minimizing the gaps that remain on the main unresolved obstacles to a deal, including access for Canadian pork and beef, drug patents and provincial procurements.”

How not to feel gross on a business trip: A new survey of hundreds of U.S. business travellers by American Express Global Business Travel found that the most obvious stress reduction solutions remain the most popular ways to endure business flights and hotel stays. Export-minded SMEs take note: don’t toss your good eating habits overboard as you taxi down the runway, and remember that the plane, contrary to the opinion of some, is not a bar.

According to the survey, more than seven out of ten (74%) frequent U.S. business travelers say they drink extra water, 48% stretch on the plane, and almost half use the gym at the hotel (44%). In terms of diet and nutrition, 20% of the U.S. business travelers surveyed avoid alcohol and 41% supplement their diet with vitamins.

For advice on how you can stay healthy when you travel (other than drinking more water), read Teresa Albert’s latest column

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