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Trading Places – SMEs in the Global Economy

A Critical Research Handbook

Edited by Lester Lloyd-Reason and Leigh Sear

Lester Lloyd-Reason and Leigh Sear bring together leading researchers and thinkers in this critical guide to the ongoing, worldwide research shaping the role played by SMEs within today’s global economy. The expert contributors contend that the past twenty years have seen an explosion in research into international SMEs, resulting in a considerable body of academic literature and thinking. This research, they argue, may merely serve to increase our lack of understanding in this area, and often results in myths and misconceptions upon which SME policies and support programmes have been developed and introduced.
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Chapter 4: Trade Trends in Transatlantica: A Profile of SMEs in the United States and Europe

Leslie E. Palich and D. Ray Bagby


4 Trade trends in Transatlantica: a profile of SMEs in the United States and Europe Leslie E. Palich and D. Ray Bagby Introduction Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have long found opportunities in the global economy; and as international business has expanded, these opportunities have grown in proportion (Karagozoglu and Lindell, 1998). Today, however, globalization is doing more than creating a new global market that is merely a larger version of yesterday’s marketplace. New forces and economic structures are combining to produce global business opportunities that are quantitatively greater and qualitatively different. To operate most effectively in the modern world economy, SMEs need to develop an awareness of its changing nature. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a profile of the international activities of SMEs in the United States and Europe and to identify and explore a number of changes affecting global potentials for these firms, as reflected in secondary data compiled by the U.S. International Trade Administration and the Observatory of European SMEs. In their contribution to the Harvard Business Review, Hermann Simon and Max Otte (2000) referred to the combined region addressed in this study as ‘Transatlantica’, recognizing that these two major trade blocs have more than an ocean in common. Compared to other nations in the world (including the advanced economies of Asia), ‘Transatlantica’s countries are much further along in restructuring their trade portfolios around specialized industrial goods’ (Simon and Otte, 2000, p. 20). They have many similarities. But...

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