​The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Eurochambres, and the European Committee of the Regions, published on 19 November the results of a joint survey aiming to identify opportunities and obstacles in the implementation of EU’s Free Trade Agreements.

The trade agreements are designed to overcome barriers in EU’s trade relations with third countries. They create better trading opportunities for European businesses to grow and hire more people.

The survey is based on feedback from regions and chambers of commerce from all EU states and confirms the attractiveness of FTAs for regional and national economies.

However, when it comes to using them in practice, the report finds weaknesses due to the lack of awareness among small and medium businesses.

It, therefore, calls for practical guidance on how SMEs and regions can engage in trade with third countries. It also calls for activities such as trainings, to help improve the reach of practical information.

In order to maximize the economic benefits of FTAs, the report stresses the need to simplify some core components of FTAs, such as customs procedures or administrative burdens.

Recommendations based on the results of the survey will be delivered to the EU Commission.