APEC has introduced a new business-to-business platform for enabling cross-border trade among underrepresented but economically vital micro, small, and medium enterprises in the Asia-Pacific.
The APEC Micro, Small and Medium Size Enterprise Marketplace showcases small firms from APEC member economies and helps to connect them with compatible production and supply chain partners. It also details tariffs and trade regulations as well as provides a portal to support services to help small businesses in the region build their trading operations.
“There are a huge range of market opportunities for micro enterprises all around the Asia-Pacific, particularly with advances in mobile technology and e-commerce,” said Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, who announced the opening of the platform endorsed by APEC SME Ministers.
“The APEC Marketplace will make it easier for small businesses to trade and, in the process, boost their competitiveness and growth capacity in the region,” continued Secretary Lopez. “The benefits of wider participation in trade could be very significant for APEC economies and our people’s livelihoods.” (VIDEO: Secretary Lopez on the Value of Small Business Trade)
The platform caters to small firms that account for nearly all businesses and the majority of employment in the APEC region, and have substantial room for export growth. They range from handicraft suppliers in Luzon, to auto and machinery parts producers in Ohio, Nagoya and Ho Chi Minh City, to coffee growers and processors in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.
APEC economies aim to grow the APEC Marketplace’s directory of small businesses with export potential and, in turn, open up market opportunities for these firms in the Asia-Pacific through business matching with companies seeking value-adding goods and services suppliers.
It is part of APEC’s implementation of the Iloilo Initiative for growing global micro, small and medium enterprises, endorsed by the region’s SME Ministers there in 2015 and supported by parallel efforts underway to unlock small business trade. (VIDEO: APEC Committee on Trade and Investment Chair on Integrating SMEs in Services Trade).
“Micro enterprises have to be interconnected with the rest of the world on account of the fact that it has become one village. We don’t want small businesses and the communities that depend on them to be left behind,” explained Papua New Guinea’s Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Wera Mori.
“Now that we are in the digital age, people must be enabled to come out from local areas and export what they can produce domestically out to markets in the Asia-Pacific and beyond,” he concluded. “We are working in APEC to help people find formal employment through small businesses that are developed and integrated.” (VIDEO: Minister Wera on Inclusive Trade)
Users of the APEC Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Marketplace are encouraged to provide feedback at this link to improve the platform in line with the region’s evolving trading conditions.
APEC Ministers and officials will take complementary steps to facilitate women’s entrepreneurship and small business trade during the APEC Women and the Economy Forum in Hue City, Viet Nam on 26-29 September.