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Forwarding the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) advocacy to bring small businesses in the front and center of global and regional trade, the Philippine Mission to the World Trade Organization (PMWTO) organized a session in the WTO Public Forum 2016 dubbed as “Towards a MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprise) Marketplace: Growing Global MSMEs for inclusive development”.

Before the key trade officials at the World Trade Organization, DTI Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado identified four (4) areas of focus for the integration of MSMEs in international trade. These include improving MSMEs access to information, strengthening MSMEs absorptive capacity, developing global MSMEs, and facilitating cross borders trade through the creation of networks and links. The model highlighted the importance of transparency, data gathering, innovation, inclusive finance, logistics, and e-commerce in the development of global MSMEs.

“Support for MSMEs would have to be undertaken in a comprehensive manner that also entails discussion of cross-cutting issues such as funding for developing and least-developed countries as well as a mechanism for a continued discussion on MSMEs within the existing framework of the WTO,” emphasized Terrado.

The Philippine session represented many developing countries’ MSME interaction – an open square in a town where businesses and enterprising individuals interact with each other in a mutually reinforcing environment. The discussion facilitated exchange of ideas, and stimulated open discussion to further enhance and develop collective practical tools for MSMEs worldwide.

“Within the four corners of the WTO and the existing agreements, the session aims to delve further on existing WTO rules which provide opportunities for MSMEs that we should all be aware of. The session also explores practical tools that will help address the challenges and opportunities identified,” DTI Special Trade Representative Jose Antonio Buencamino explained as moderator of the session.

DTI Undersecretary Terrado was joined by prominent speakers in the field of trade, namely Mr. David Shark, Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization; Ms. Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre; Ms. Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Director for Trade and Competitiveness of the World Bank Group; Mr. Steve Beck, Head of Trade Finance of the Asian Development Bank; and Mr. Carlos Grau Tanner, Director General of Global Express Association.

The Public Forum is WTO’s flagship event that provides a unique platform for heads of state and leading global businesspeople, academics and non-governmental organisations to come together and discuss some of the major trade and development issues of the day. The 15th edition was held from 27-29 September with the theme “Inclusive Trade” that aims to examine how the WTO can foster SMEs' participation into the global market. With 100 parallel sessions, the Forum generates over 40,000 hours of discussions and attracts over 2,000 participants.

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