“Without micro, small and medium-size enterprises in the global market, growth cannot be inclusive,” declared Philippine Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo at the 22nd APEC SME Ministerial Meeting, convening on Friday in Iloilo City, The Philippines.
Ministers meeting here are setting policy to support the integration of micro, small, and medium enterprises to international markets and global value chains, thereby advancing APEC's goal of regional economic development. Secretary Domingo summoned historical significance as inspiration to the agenda.
"Iloilo was the primary port of choice to export once-valuable sugar sourced from the nearby provinces to China and Spanish territories across the Pacific Ocean," said Secretary Domingo, who also chair this year’s ministers meeting.
"We, in the APEC region, bear a natural predisposition for commerce and trade,” he explained. “The strengthening of our economic linkages, with goods and services trade and investment at the core, has provided a solid framework for growth and prosperity."
Secretary Domingo described the sector’s critical role in the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region as they comprise the great majority of businesses and employ over half of the workforce in the region.
"It is very important that our approach embraces the interest of small business, particularly micro and small enterprises,” Domingo explained. “An important component of this effort is to bolster their ability to take advantage of cross-border business opportunities that will help our economies in the process."
He added that with policies friendly to micro and small enterprises will increase their capacity to meet market requirements and chances enter the global markets.
APEC SME Working Group Chair John Andersen reported on outcomes of the working group meetings held earlier this week. Mr. Anderson will also recommended an action agenda for global micro and small enterprises.
Led by the theme “Mainstreaming Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)”, the ministers are considering initiatives from different economies addressing barriers to facilitate entry to markets, advancing modernization and standards and conformance. On the table are initiatives to help achieve inclusive growth through sustainable and resilient micro and small enterprises.
SMEs account for over 97 percent of all enterprises and contributes significantly to economic growth, with SMEs' share of GDP ranging from 20 percent to 50 percent in the majority of APEC economies.
"APEC comprises economies at various points in the development spectrum, concluded Secretary Domingo. “Within our economies, disparities continue to exist. We need to ensure that our work in APEC will benefit all."
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