A survey among Belgian Chambers of Commerce shows that their members are positive about the free trade agreements concluded by the European Union. Belgian companies are also generally better informed about the existence of a free trade agreement than their counterparts in other European countries. The main advantages they see are the reduction of import duties and better access for service providers.
But there are also important points of attention. There are insufficient accompanying measures to involve our SMEs in international production chains and to train or retrain employees. Furthermore, the free trade agreements rules of origin are often quite complex and differ from one agreement to another, which means that companies do not know them well enough and therefore do not make use of the tariff preferences.
This survey was part of a larger survey by EUROCHAMBRES and by the Committee of the Regions. The full results, findings and recommendations of this study can be found here.