45th Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group Meeting

13 September 2017, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam – Today, the SMEWG meeting was held within the framework of the APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM) and Related Meetings.

In his welcome remarks, H.E. Dang Huy Dong, Vietnamese Vice Minister of Planning and Investment, shared that “APEC has grown to become a tremendous dynamic region with vibrant international economic integration. SMEs currently account for 98% of  total enterprises and have been played an important part of economic development and employment generation".  They are also "a significant source of  innovation, and the engine for economic growth in the Asia Pacific region ", he added.

He also noted, “Through APEC Fora, SME have gained much knowledge, legislation in line with international economic practices. However, many SMEs are still struggling weak competitiveness."

"Therefore, APEC economies and SMEs [should] jointly promote with their own internal strengths through enhancing effective governance, facilitating technological innovation….., opening up new market opportunities meanwhile ensuring an enabling environment for doing business", the Vice Minister suggested.

In the two-day meeting, delegates from 21 member economies focused discussion on finding good examples of entrepreneurship, innovation and accessing finance, business ecosystems and market access for SME development. The potentials for practical cooperation and identification of prioritized areas to strengthen SMEs’ competitiveness throughout the APEC region will also be discussed.

The meeting today reviewed the implementation of the SMEWG Strategic Plan 2017-2010, and exchanged ideas on how member economies could continue contributing to the realization of 4 priority areas in 2018, namely: entrepreneurship, innovation and internet and digital economy; financing for business expansion and capability development; inclusive business ecosystem that support SME growth; and market access for SMEs.

Delegates also discussed progress on the development of an APEC Strategy on Green, Sustainable and Innovative MSMEs, as well as the implementation of projects and initiatives to enhance SMEs’ innovation and competitiveness, promote MSMEs internationalization and GVCs participation as well as building an inclusive enabling environment and business ecosystem for MSMEs, among other issues.

The meeting will continue tomorrow. Results of this meeting will be reported to the SME Ministerial Meeting on 15 September.