By Kris M. Crismundo of PNA
MANILA — The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has 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).
During the opening of ABAC fourth meeting for 2015 in Makati City on Saturday, ABAC Chair Doris Magsaysay-Ho said the recommendations of private sector to improve the region’s business environment for MSMEs were well received by APEC.
Ho cited that the forum has carried out recommendations for MSMEs in sectors of services, finance, e-commerce and food security.
In particular, these ABAC initiatives that adopted by APEC are:
• the establishment of Asia Pacific Services Coalition and launch the Regional Services Coalition that will put forward services agenda in APEC to foster growth and efficiency in the sector;
• 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 Asia Pacific Food Industry Forum that engages the private sector to convey priorities and concerns on food security; and
• the first APEC SME Summit which targets to mainstream the innovation agenda in the region
Furthermore, 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 the 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 here from Nov. 18 to 19. (PNA) LDV/KMC
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