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Friday, September 6, 2019

2019 APEC SME Week:

Ministerial Statement supports and promotes SME financing and digitization policies

Chile’s Economy, Development and Tourism Minister, Juan Andrés Fontaine, and representatives from the other 20 member economies of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation agreed this statement.

Friday, September 6, 2019. On Friday, Economy, Development and Tourism Minister Juan Andrés Fontaine formally closed the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) SME Ministerial Meeting and APEC SME Week, which took place at the Mitrinco Convention Center in Chile’s Biobío region.

He was accompanied by the Regional Secretary of the Chilean Economy Ministry, Mauricio Gutiérrez, and APEC Chile Content Director Krasna Bobenrieth.

Minister Fontaine and the representatives from the other 20 APEC member economies agreed the APEC SME Ministerial Statement on the final day. In it, they recognized the importance and expressed their willingness to promote policies that will facilitate SME’s access to financing and digital transformation in the context of the globalized economy.

Minister Fontaine explained, "there was clear agreement about the importance of SMEs. In all of these economies, something like 97% of the businesses are SMEs and 50% of the jobs are generated by SMEs. Furthermore, SMEs in all of these economies have similar problems in regard to access to finance, technology and internationalization through exports. There were a number of presentations to explain different public policies designed to provide greater opportunities for SMEs in these three areas and I felt that what is being done in Chile is comparable to  what is happening in the other economies."

The APEC Chile Content Director explained that the next events will be the Ministerial Meeting on Women and the Women in the Economy Forum, scheduled to take place in La Serena from September 30 to October 4.

The 25th APEC SME Ministerial Meeting is among the activities being held in the run-up to the Leaders’ Meeting in November. This meeting focused on discussing digital transformation, internationalization and access to finance for SMEs.

Ministerial Statement

The 2019 APEC SME Ministerial Statement ratified support for the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs and to guide APEC in helping MSMEs to participate in international trade. "Improving outcomes for SMEs supports APEC's regional economic integration agenda and brings us closer to achieving the Bogor goals for free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region,” explains the Ministerial Statement.

Finally, the document acknowledges the importance of the SME Working Group, which met in Qingdao in May and in Concepción this week. It notes that these meetings are helping to make progress with the SME Working Group Strategic Plan 2017-2020. A final report is expected next year at the 26th APEC SME Ministerial Meeting in Malaysia.

International reactions

After the 25th APEC SME Ministerial Meeting closed, US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Gilbert Kaplan said, "we encourage greater collaboration to address ethical issues and promote SME transparency and integrity in the internationalization process, and we welcome efforts to build resilient businesses through exchanging information and best practices

Meanwhile, Peru’s Minister of Production, Rocío Ingred, said, "an important aspect of these Asia-Pacific economic cooperation meetings is that we have discussed three issues that are common to all 21 economies. These are to do with strengthening MSMEs and entrepreneurs. But when entering international markets it is also important to strengthen practices that deal with ethics, integrity and the fight against corruption, which all the economies need to address.”

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