Supporting digital transformation of MSMEs
Business Mirror
October 5, 2016

THE thrust of many governments to integrate micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) into the global trade economy  has never been more evident than with the commitment of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) member-economies through the “2015 Boracay Action Agenda [BAA] to Globalize MSMEs” adopted by the Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) and the Apec Iloilo Initiative: Growing Global MSMEs for Inclusive Development adopted by SME ministers.

One agreed key deliverable is the Apec MSME Marketplace, a Philippine initiative to create a virtual marketplace for MSMEs that will facilitate business matching and provide information about international trade-standards and regulations, as well as on trade promotion assistance packages provided by Apec economies. It is intended to be a networking platform, as well as feedback mechanism on how challenges faced by MSMEs seeking to participate in global trade may be addressed.

This is a vital initiative resulting from the recommendations of the “Apec Projects on Business Matching and Internship Consortium for Global Value Chain Integration” and the “Facilitating SME Trade through Better Understanding of Non-Tariff Measures for the Agriculture, Food Processing and Handicrafts Sector,” which the Philippines implemented in Atlanta, Georgia and Iloilo City, the Philippines.

Ahead of the Apec SME Working Group meetings in Peru in September, the first coordination meeting of the recently organized Technical Ad hoc Group (TAG)  on the Apec MSME Marketplace took place at the Lima Convention Center  on September  5. The TAG was chaired by Director Jerry Clavesillas of the Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, also the focal Philippine representative to the Apec SME Working Group. The Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) represented the Philippines during the meeting and, together with other Apec economies, discussed and approved the implementation plan for the Apec MSME Marketplace, which was then endorsed to the Apec SME WG and reported at the Apec SME Ministerial Meeting.

It is now imperative MSMEs should embrace the digital economy and leverage the use of existing technologies. With the implementation of the Apec MSME Marketplace, it is foreseen that more Apec MSMES will be able to access global trade opportunities and eventually participate in cross-border export transactions, addressing the issue of SME internationalization using the Internet.□

Agnes Perpetua R. Legaspi, Assistant Director, Export Marketing Bureau, Department of Trade and Industry