World Trade Report 2016

Levelling the trading field for SMEs

The 2016 World Trade Report examines the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in international trade, how the international trade landscape is changing for SMEs, and what the multilateral trading system does and can do to encourage more widespread and inclusive SME participation in global markets.

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Today’s increasingly interconnected global economy is transforming what is traded and who is trading. International trade has long been dominated by large companies. But thanks to dramatically reduced trade barriers, improved transportation links, information technologies and the emergence of global value chains, many SMEs now have the potential to become successful global traders as well. Participation in international trade, once exclusive, can progressively become more inclusive.

The 2016 World Trade Report examines the participation of SMEs in international trade. It finds that small businesses continue to face disproportionate barriers to trade and highlights the scope for coherent national and international policy actions that would enhance the ability of SMEs to participate in world markets more effectively. It underlines that participation in trade has an important role to play in helping SMEs become more productive and grow. For open trade and global integration to fully benefit everyone, it is crucial to ensure that all firms – not just large corporations – can succeed in today’s global marketplace.

Published in 2016

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Download pdf:

> Complete report (177 pages; 4 MB)

> Cover, contents, acknowledgements, disclaimer, DG Foreword and Executive Summary (13 pages; 266 KB)

> A. Introduction (16 pages; 323 KB)

> B. SMEs in international trade: stylized facts (28 pages; 825 KB)

> C. Dynamics of internationalization processes of SMEs (20 pages; 391 KB)

> D. Trade obstacles to SME participation in trade (36 pages; 677 KB)

> E. Cooperative approaches to promoting SME participation in trade (38 pages; 658 KB)

> F. Conclusions (2 pages; 82KB)

> Bibliography, Technical notes, Abbreviations and symbols, List of figures, tables and boxes, WTO members, Previous World Trade Reports, back cover (29 pages; 990 KB)


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The World Trade Report 2016 is now available as an app.

The app includes the full text of the Report plus the underlying data for all charts and tables in the Report. It also contains a video and photos of the launch event.

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