PHL forwards MSME agenda in global arena
Business Mirror
October 5, 2016

GENEVA, Switzerland—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 “Towards an MSME [Micro Small and Medium Enterprise] Marketplace: Growing Global MSMEs for Inclusive Development.”

Before the key trade officials at the WTO, Trade Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado identified four 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-border 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,” Terrado said.

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 said as moderator of the session.

Terrado was joined by prominent speakers in the field of trade, namely, David Shark, deputy director general of the World Trade Organization; Marancha Gonzalez, executive director of the International Trade Centre; Anabel Gonzalez, senior director for Trade and Competitiveness of the World Bank Group; Steve Beck, head of trade finance of the Asian Development Bank; and 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 organizations to come together and discuss some of the major trade and development issues of the day. The 15th edition was held from September 26 to 29, with the theme “Inclusive Trade,” which 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.□