The Tenth APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministers Meeting will take place in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on August 7-8.
This year's SME Minister's Meeting is expected to further implement the APEC Leaders' call for priority to be placed on developing Micro-enterprises in the APEC region.
Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, Ambassador Piamsak Milintachinda, said the role of Micro-enterprises has a very strong influence on the regional economy and it is positive to see their presence being elevated.
"Around 74% of all formal sector businesses registered in the APEC Region are Micro-enterprises and there are many more that operate in the informal economy particularly developing areas," said Ambassador Milintachinda.
"Micro-enterprises are typically businesses that operate with an informal structure, often based on individual or informal financing and often involve family member in business operations.
"Micro-enterprises also play an important social role as they often enable groups such as women and youth to play a strong and active business role."
Other issues on the agenda to be discussed by APEC SME Ministers are based on the central theme for Small and Medium Enterprises in the 2003 APEC Year. This is year's theme is "Strengthening APEC Entrepreneurial Society" and includes the three priority topics of:
Capacity Building to Address Impediments to SME Exporters in the APEC Region
Business Creation, Capital Formation and Financial Access for SMEs and Micro-enterprises.
The meeting will also include a session that will involve an interactive dialogue with representatives from the SMEs Business Forum.
Earlier this week on Monday, 4 August the first meeting of the SME Sub-Group on Micro-enterprises was held at which the group endorsed a Micro-Enterprise Development Action Plan. The Action Plan identifies areas in which APEC economies are urged to work closely with Micro-enterprises to build their capacity and allow them to benefit from the global economy.
Ministers will also hold a Joint Session with the APEC Business Advisory Council and the Women Leaders' Network.
A News Conference will be hosted by the Thailand Minister for Industry and SMEs, His Excellency Somsak Thepsuthin, at which SME Ministers from other APEC Member Economies are also invited to attend at 2pm on Friday, 8 August.
The APEC SME Ministers' Meeting will take place at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand.