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 For a large number of  Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)  international trade process presents a huge potential, but despite the desire to join this process, it turns out to be not so easy to do.

Due to the difference in the political, commercial, financial and foremost cultural nature of the business environments of different regions, the process of finding predictable and reliable partners requires a lot of time and substantial resources. Even with the help from local state institutions, no enterprise can escape this burden.

The overall low quality of available information and high costs of acquiring it turns out to be the main obstacle for enterprises entering new international market. This information about differences, features and opportunities presented by certain region and specific partners as well as bureaucratic procedures are holding enterprises from active interaction and realizing their business potential.

Identifying the sources of such information in each region and combining these into a single network of organized and validated information, available for every SME along with communication channels is the essence of Global Cooperation & Fulfillment Network for SME’s (or simply GCFN project).

GCFN - is a platform of unified and validated information, presenting on open space that opens up new opportunities for businesses across different regions.

Being a global and complex project it is initially based on China’s initiative - “One Belt One Road”. It is also getting attraction and support from a number of countries and regional institutions, such as SCO, European Union, Eurasian Union and “16+1” forum responsible for the development of trade and uniting entrepreneurs.

In 2017, in the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica, at the initiative of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), we, the Riga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as representative of the Latvian capital and our colleagues from 15 countries, participants in the 16 + 1 format, signed an agreement on the creation of a "round table mechanism" and coordination of joint actions and projects.

In 2018, the 16 + 1 summit will be held in October in Belgrade, Serbia. We plan to discuss there the GCFN Project, its objectives, the contribution and benefits from it for each of the participants. Having done that, the next step in our plans is the presentation of the results of the summit in Belgrade to the participants of the forum of representatives of small and medium-sized businesses of the SCO and BRICS countries in Ufa, Russia. One of the results of the forum could be the creation of a "round table" of representatives of Small and Medium Enterprises of the SCO and BRICS countries. Now we, together with our partners in different countries, are actively working on the content of such agreement.

In addition, in cooperation with the central office and regional offices of CCPIT, as well as our colleagues from Germany, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia, we conduct an off-line practical study of what actually prevents the entry of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME` s) to foreign markets. We consider all areas of activity for the supply chain: from the manufacturer to the "regional retailer's shelf" or to the buyer's warehouse.

 The results of our research, within the framework of the GCFN Project, we plan to discuss at the forums in Belgrade and Ufa. If there is information on barriers to SME and the format of round tables for collegial solutions is set up, it will be possible for representatives of the regions to agree on such rules and conditions of interaction in which obstacles for businesses in these regions will be eliminated or minimized.

Riga, Latvia

July 27,2018.