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Chapter 24: Small & Medium-sized Businesses

Article 24.1: Information Sharing

1. Each Party shall establish or maintain its own publicly accessible website containing information regarding this Agreement, including:

(a) the text of this Agreement, including all annexes, tariff schedules and product specific rules of origin;

(b) a summary of this Agreement; and

(c) information designed for SMEs that contains:

(i) a description of the provisions in this Agreement that the Party considers to be relevant to SMEs; and

(ii) any additional information that the Party considers useful for SMEs interested in benefitting from the opportunities provided by this Agreement.

2. Each Party shall include in its website links to:

(a) the equivalent websites of the other Parties; and

(b) the websites of its government agencies and other appropriate entities that provide information the Party considers useful to any person interested in trading, investing, or doing business in that Party’s territory.

3. Subject to each Party’s laws and regulations, the information described in paragraph 2(b) may include:

(a) customs regulations and procedures;

(b) regulations and procedures concerning intellectual property rights;

(c) technical regulations, standards, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures relating to importation and exportation;

(d) foreign investment regulations;

(e) business registration procedures;

(f) employment regulations; and

(g) taxation information.

When possible, each Party shall endeavour to make the information available in English.

4. Each Party shall regularly review the information and links on the website referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 to ensure that such information and links are up-to-date and accurate.

Article 24.2: Committee on SMEs

1. The Parties hereby establish a Committee on SMEs (Committee), composed of government representatives of each Party.

2. The Committee shall:

(a) identify ways to assist SMEs of the Parties to take advantage of the commercial opportunities under this Agreement;

(b) exchange and discuss each Party’s experiences and best practices in supporting and assisting SME exporters with respect to, among other things, training programmes, trade education, trade finance, identifying commercial partners in other Parties, and establishing good business credentials;

(c) develop and promote seminars, workshops or other activities to inform SMEs of the benefits available to them under this Agreement;

(d) explore opportunities for capacity building to assist the Parties in developing and enhancing SME export counselling, assistance and training programmes;

(e) recommend additional information that a Party may include on the website referred to in Article 24.1 (Information Sharing);

(f) review and coordinate the Committee’s work programme with those of other committees, working groups and any subsidiary body established under this Agreement, as well as those of other relevant international bodies, in order not to duplicate those work programmes and to identify appropriate opportunities for cooperation to improve the ability of SMEs to engage in trade and investment opportunities provided by this Agreement;

(g) facilitate the development of programmes to assist SMEs to participate and integrate effectively into the global supply chain;

(h) exchange information to assist in monitoring the implementation of this Agreement as it relates to SMEs;

(i) submit a report of its activities on a regular basis and make appropriate recommendations to the Commission; and

(j) consider any other matter pertaining to SMEs as the Committee may decide, including any issues raised by SMEs regarding their ability to benefit from this Agreement.

3. The Committee shall meet within one year of the date of entry into force of this Agreement, and thereafter as necessary.

4. The Committee may seek to collaborate with appropriate experts and international donor organisations in carrying out its programmes and activities.

Article 24.3: Non-Application of Dispute Settlement

No Party shall have recourse to dispute settlement under Chapter 28 (Dispute Settlement) for any matter arising under this Chapter.

(Proceed to Chapter 25...)

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