MANILA, Philippines – Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo stressed anew that “without micro, small, and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) in the global market, growth cannot be inclusive.”
Domingo highlighted this point at the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) SME Ministerial Meeting on Friday, September 25 in Iloilo City.
The ministers are setting policy to support the integration of MSMEs to international markets and global value chains, thereby advancing APEC’s goal of regional economic development.
Domingo, who earlier vowed to continue pushing for broader initiatives geared toward to MSME growth in his remaining months in the office (as he submitted his resignation), cited historical significance as inspiration to the MSME APEC 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,” he said.
“We, in the APEC region, bear a natural predisposition for commerce and trade. 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,” Domingo added.
He went on to describe 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.
SMEs account for over 9% of all enterprises and contributes significantly to economic growth, with SMEs’ share of gross domestic product ranging from 20% to 50% in the majority of APEC economies.
“It’s 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.
Policies friendly to micro and small enterprises will increase their capacity to meet market requirements and chances to enter the global markets.
APEC SME Working Group Chair John Andersen reported on outcomes of the working group meetings held earlier this week.
Anderson also recommended an action agenda for global micro and small enterprises.
With 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.
There are also recommended initiatives to help achieve inclusive growth through sustainable and resilient micro and small enterprises.
“APEC comprises economies at various points in the development spectrum. Within our economies, disparities continue to exist. We need to ensure that our work in APEC will benefit all,” Domingo stressed. – Rappler.com