Barcelona, March 21, 2018.- Catalonia Trade & Investment - the Catalan Government agency for business competitiveness - has opened a Technical Office on Internationalization Barriers to help Catalan SMEs overcome the obstacles that hinder their movement abroad (exporting, setting up abroad or problems arising from worker mobility). This is the first time that an office like this has been created within Catalan public administration and is due to the demand shown by the Catalan business community and contemplated in the National Agreement for Industry with the triple objective of attending, free of charge and with personalised service, those companies facing barriers when it comes to internationalization; investigating and identifying these obstacles both in origin and destination and promoting specific actions to minimize them.
Located at Catalonia T & I’s headquarters, it will work together with the network of 40 Foreign Trade and Investment Offices around the world. It is being put into operation with the aim of continuing to expand the base of Catalan exporting companies (with 48,000 companies currently exporting) and encouraging them to do so on a regular basis (17,000 companies have exported the last four years consecutively), while it also aims to promote diversification and increase Catalonia’s exports outside the European Union.
Therefore, when an SME is faced with an obstacle regarding internationalization, they can contact Catalonia T & I’s Technical Office on Internationalization Barriers to receive information, tools and support services to overcome it. Habitual problems are those concerning problems related to compliance with foreign regulations, customs requirements and protection of intellectual or industrial property rights. The office will then act as a one-stop shop (it will work in collaboration with other organizations and support bodies for business internationalization) and will be able to help the company carry out the necessary steps to achieve a specific certificate, solve problems of documentation in a customs office or offer local assistance to overcome a logistics problem of merchandise at destination, among others. The markets to be prioritized are China, the United States, Mexico, India, Russia and Brazil: countries which, due to their market potential and dimensions, present great growth prospects but at the same time certain degrees of difficulty for SMEs when exporting.
A new website that acts as a window on the world
One of the most noteworthy services of the Technical Department on Internationalization Barriers is the Catalonia Trade Portal, a web platform with updated and real-time information that complements the face-to-face services and makes tools, resources and information available to SMEs that facilitate their movement abroad. The site tracks more than 800 documentary sources to inform SMEs about the documentation necessary to export a product or service to any country, the controls that must be taken into account to export to a specific country or the tariffs that each country establishes. It also has a tool that automates the calculation of export costs and a database of more than 100,000 importers around the world.
At the same time, the Catalonia Trade Portal allows SMEs to perform specific searches to identify business opportunities abroad, countries that best match with their needs or the most appropriate international trade fairs to be part of or to expand their presence in a country or region. The platform even allows companies to configure custom alerts to keep up to date with new public tenders, tendencies or studies published. The website of the portal, which is already operational, is www.accio.gencat.cat/trade-portal.