Small businesses can benefit hugely from global trade, but they face many hurdles.

In 2016, the World Trade Organization released an extensive report on small and medium-sized businesses. Its biggest revelation was how little we know about them.

SMEs, which employ most workers and account for 95% of all firms, are the lifeblood of the world’s economy. Yet they remain understudied, underappreciated and underserved, little understood even by the larger companies that count them as customers and suppliers. What’s more, they have been consistently ignored by negotiators writing international trade rules.