APEC approves ‘Iloilo Initiative’

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ILOILO CITY: Ministers of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Small Medium Enterprise (APEC-SME) have considered and approved the ‘Iloilo Initiative” that seeks to push for the inclusion of micro, small, medium enterprises (MSME) in global trade and investments.

On the last day of the SME Ministerial Meeting on on Friday, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) prioritized the inclusion of e-commerce to accelerate the access of MSMEs to international markets, promoting innovation and participation in the global value chain as well as promoting and ensuring access to finance and affordable credit.

Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo said MSMEs play a vital role in the realization of a prosperous Asia Pacific region as they comprise a ‘great majority of business.’

He added that MSMEs account for over 97 percent of all enterprises and employ over half of the workforce across APEC economies. The SMEs contribute significantly to economic growth, contributing 20 percent to 50 percent to the gross domestic product in the majority of APEC member-economies.


Director Jerry Clavesillas, of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, reported that the Philippines has over one million DTI-registered SMEs while Western Visayas has over 16,000 registered SMEs.

ABAC chairman Doris Magsaysay-Ho scored the need to monitor the growing Internet usage, burgeoning middle class and the increasing accessibility and affordability of technology to enable MSMEs to enter the global market.

E-commerce has evolved into a regular marketplace option for many buyers, she added.

“An important measure that is relevant to the innovation agenda is that of strengthening the digital infrastructure and leveraging the digital economy to accelerate MSMEs participation in the global value chain,” the ABAC chair added.

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