Foreign trade brings European consumers more choice, higher quality goods and lower prices. International trade also strengthens the competitiveness of Europe's businesses, while harnessing sustainable development worldwide.
Over 600,000 small businesses in Europe export goods and services to the rest of the world and each has its own story to tell.
The benefits for exporters and importers are numerous, as the following case studies show.
The Austrian Coffeeshop Company has over 300 franchises worldwide. The company’s international expansion was also possible thanks to the EU’s trade agreements with countries such as Mexico, Morocco, and Egypt, which reduced much of the administrative work needed to enter those markets.
Schärf Coffee is a family business which operates over 300 coffee shops in 23 countries under the Coffee shop Company brand, supplying them with coffee from Austria. Schärf uses only premium high-grown Arabica beans for its coffees, sourced from the best coffee growing areas around the globe.
The Austrian company's reputation for quality and engineering has allowed them to expand abroad. Southeast Asia represents a huge market for renewable energy technologies.
The 2013 EU trade deal with Colombia has contributed to the international success of Viennese jeweller, Freywille. The firm has hired new workers and opened a successful shop in Colombia, which should lead to further expansion in the Americas.
Rainer Wess winery is located in the Kremstal region of the Wachau Valley of Austria. It has earned a strong reputation for its Grüner Veltiner and Riesling wines. Supported by EU trade deals with international partners, Rainer Wess exports 65% of its produce.
Backaldrin is a family-owned baking ingredients manufacturer headquartered in Asten, Upper Austria. In its expansion efforts, the family business targets countries with which the EU has negotiated trade deals.
The 2011 EU-South Korea trade deal eliminated customs duties enabling AustiAlpin, a climbing equipment maker, to start doing business there. The company now exports around 80% of its products and is eager to reap the benefits of more EU trade deals, such as with Canada.
Freywille is expanding its business in Canada and the USA through a network of retail partnerships.
Energy efficiency, mobility and security are three global megatrends in modern society. They are also the central challenges that Infineon addresses with its semiconductor and system solutions.
Österreich Wein, the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, has helped to promote the sales of Austrian wine both at home and abroad.
The 2013 EU-Colombia trade deal made it easier for EU firms to do business there. This has helped Austrian manufacturer Doppelmayr to expand in South America. Doppelmayr's international success also benefits local Austrian suppliers based around Wolfurt region.
Exports are essential for the business success of many small companies in Europe. At Belgian essential oils producer Pranarôm, exports even account for 90% of the firm's turnover. The firm welcomes the CETA agreement as an opportunity to facilitate the certification of its products in Canada.
EU trade agreements support small businesses throughout Europe. Discover how EU trade deals favour revenue growth and job creation in a Flemish family business. Delta Light is a Belgian family business which specialises in architectural lighting for residential and commercial buildings.
WeWatt is a Flemish company with a lofty goal: to turn human kinetic energy into usable power. The small company was founded in 2011 by Patricia Ceysens and Katarina Verhaegen. It creates innovative pieces of furniture equipped with pedals to generate electricity.
Recently, Galler has entered the Mexican market, by teaming up with Belimport, a medium-sized business based in the city of San Miguel de Allende in the central state of Guanajuato.
Kitozyme is a small biotech company in Wallonia, Belgium. It specialises in technology for healthcare and beverages.
As a result of the EU's trade deals, Belgian coffee maker OR was able to build partnerships with farmers in countries such as Costa Rica. These partnerships entail the farmers taking on an active role in the coffee-making process rather than just supplying beans.
For over 50 years Smet has been a leading supplier of chocolate and sweet decorations and an innovator in the industry.
The 2013 EU trade deal with Columbia and Peru made rules for beer imports to those countries clearer, which in turn made it easier for smaller breweries to sell their beer there. The family-owned Huyghe Brewery has benefitted from simplified administrative requirements, posting profits as a result.
Burgozone is a family-owned boutique winery producing high-end Bulgarian wines.