The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) adopted key initiatives of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the voice of businesses in the region, to boost the economic participation of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
At the opening of the council’s fourth meeting on Saturday, ABAC chairperson Doris Magsaysay-Ho said the recommendations of the private sector to improve the region’s business environment for MSMEs were well received by APEC.
These initiatives include the establishment of Asia Pacific Services Coalition and launch of the Regional Services Coalition that will put forward services agenda in APEC to foster growth and efficiency in the sector and the Asia-Pacific Infrastructure Partnership and the Asia-Pacific Forum on Financial Inclusion under the Cebu Action Plan which aims to improve MSMEs access to finance; the holding of an Asia Pacific Food Industry Forum that engages the private sector to convey priorities and concerns on food security; and convening the first APEC SME Summit.
Ho noted that the Boracay Action Plan of Ministers Responsible for Trade and the Iloilo Initiative of SME Ministers will allow more micro and small businesses to participate in regional and global trade.
MSMEs comprise 97 percent of businesses in APEC, employing more than half of the total workforce in the region, sharing 13 to 60 percent of gross domestic product and accounting for 35 percent of direct exports.
“APEC and ABAC both worked on the theme of inclusive growth, our priorities are nearly identical, showing that we share an understanding and appreciation of the work that needs to be done to address the pressing economic concerns facing the region,” she said.
The private sector arm of APEC will present to APEC economic leaders next week its 2015 ABAC Report which contains other recommendations in areas of regional economic integration, sustainable development, connectivity, MSME and entrepreneurship, finance and economics, and industry dialogues.
The APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM) will be held from Nov. 18 to 19.