BORACAY, Aklan: A Philippine-led initiative that seeks to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) “front and center” of global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings held on Boracay island.
The Philippine proposal, called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” proposes a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider opportunities to integrate into global or regional trade, either through global value chains (GVCs) or as direct exporters of finished goods and services.
“There is widespread support for the Boracay Action Agenda in APEC. It is consistent with our collective vision to strengthen the foundation for balanced, sustained and inclusive growth in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr.
“APEC Senior Officials and their technical teams are working hard to ensure that the Action Agenda will be supported by all members of APEC,” he added.
For 10 days, senior officials from the 21 APEC member economies discussed existing commitments and deliverables on trade, investments, and economic and technical cooperation.
Throughout the meetings, the Philippines seized the opportunity to press for greater participation of MSMEs by building on each technical working group’s key priorities and emphasizing vast opportunities for these enterprises in increasingly open and integrated markets, and in providing vital support and complementation to larger enterprises.
It can be recalled that during the Informal Senior Officials Meeting held in November last year, the Philippines announced that one of its priorities would focus on MSME participation in regional and global markets.
Subsequently, during the first Senior Officials Meeting (SOM1) in Clark in February, the Philippines presented proposals to support the mainstreaming of artisanal micro and small enterprises in international trade, where it obtained a commitment from the senior officials to work toward the adoption of initiatives in the action agenda.
“The senior officials of the member economies support the objectives and goals of the action agenda, and we are working closely with all economies to refine the initiatives and programs to carry this through,” DTI Assistant Secretary Ceferino Rodolfo added.
As a result of the Philippines’ continuous efforts, various working groups such as the
Tourism Working Group (TWG) and the Policy Partnership in Science & Technology and Innovation (PPSTI), have agreed to pursue policies and initiatives in support of MSMEs.
The country is collaborating with Australia, Canada, Korea, and Malaysia to develop the work stream on MSMEs in the automotive GVCs.
“We remain upbeat and optimistic that the goals, objectives and priority actions of the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs will be supported by all economies in time for the meeting of the Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT),” Rodolfo said.
The MRT meet, to be chaired by DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo, starts today, May 23 and will continue until Sunday, May 24 in Boracay, Aklan.