22 September 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

MORE micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Asia Pacific are encouraged to go into cross-border online platform to help them do more business in the region.

The Philippines has the highest number of visitors and registered active users in the APEC MSME Marketplace among the 21 member-economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

The Marketplace has 685 registered MSMEs and total visitors of 10,054 from Apec economies.

Launched on September 15, 2017, during the 24th Apec MSME Ministerial Meeting in Vietnam, the Marketplace which showcases MSME products and trade facilitation services, is the result of the collective efforts of Apec members to contribute to the shared vision of mainstreaming the MSMEs into the global economy.

The cross-border business-to-business (B2B) platform is the part of the Philippine commitment to implement the Iloilo Initiative: Growing Global MSMEs for Inclusive Development adopted by the Apec SME Ministers in 2015.

The Marketplace showcases 64 company databases/trade directories, including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Tradeline’s Philippine Exporters Directory and Philippine Sourcing Directory and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s Directory of Philippine Merchandise Exporters with over 5,000 listings of MSMEs.

Four Philippine government marketplaces are featured in the Marketplace, including Go Lokal!, a retail concept store showcasing quality and innovative products crafted, designed and produced by local MSMEs; and the Department of Trade and Industry’s E-Commerce web site, InDOStriya.

An e-commerce Web application, oneStoreHub, helps the Department of Science and Technology’s assisted MSMEs widen the scope of their target market; and Mimaropa Ventures, an online Marketplace for government-assisted MSMEs in the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) region, are also listed in the Marketplace.

A total of 34 government marketplaces in Apec are showcased in the Marketplace.

There are 158 private marketplaces listed in the Marketplace. For the Philippines, 19 marketplaces are featured, including ebay.ph, Lazada, Metro Deal, OLX and Zalora.

The Philippine-led Apec Trade Directory is a key section of the Apec MSME Marketplace providing information on trade regulations across Apec.

When one clicks the member economy page, for example the Philippines, other information can be accessed including link to the PNTR, a Web-based portal that provides a single source of comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date information on all trade-related matters.

The Philippines’s “Capacity Building for Small and Medium Enterprises and Competition Policy and Law” tool kit was added to highlight the role of SMEs in stimulating a competitive economy.

In its current phase, more site functionalities are being developed in the online B2B platform. These include, among others, the provision for MSMEs to join the directory of exporters.

Other resources are constantly being uploaded through contributions from member economies and APEC Fora.

The Webinar section was added to feature free online courses for MSMEs. Also there is the Toolkit section which was renamed Program on MSME Internationalization and Toolkits.