Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the US - a category that includes the majority of US textile and apparel makers - face a number of barriers to exporting in comparison to their EU counterparts, according to a new report.

The report, compiled by the US International Trade Commission (USITC) at the request of the US Trade Representative, compares the exporting activities of SMEs in the US with those in the EU.

It found that inadequate access to finance, complex regulations and rising and unpredictable transportation costs were among the most significant barriers to increasing exports.

The share of SMEs in US manufacturing and exports is smaller than that of SMEs in the same areas in the EU, partly because of the greater consolidation of the US market, which has generally larger companies.

While the US provides a wider range of support for pre-export financing and short-term credit, SMEs from the EU appear to have access to more sources and a higher level of assistance in foreign markets, as well as more financial support for participating in international trade.

Other export barriers identified by US SMEs in the report include tariff and non-tariff barriers, time-consuming foreign customs procedures, language and cultural differences, and the lack of knowledge of foreign markets.

The USITC added that SMEs had identified “numerous” improvements to the export environment, including mutual recognition agreements, bilateral investment treaties, trade and investment framework agreements, and World Trade Organisation agreements.