The Philippines launched the APEC MSME Marketplace, an online platform to promote trade and internationalization of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), during the 24th APEC SME Ministerial Meeting held in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam on 15 September 2017.
“The APEC MSME Marketplace aims to enable MSMEs to participate in meaningful global trade, and in the process harness their ingenuity, boost their competitiveness, and achieve prosperity and inclusive growth in the Asia-Pacific,” said Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.
The online platform which is a cross-border business-to-business (B2B) platform is part of the Philippine commitment to implement the Iloilo Initiative: Growing Global MSMEs for Inclusive Development, which was earlier adopted by the APEC SME Ministers in 2015. It seeks to provide bigger voice and better opportunities for APEC MSMEs.
Accessible via www.apecmsmemarketplace.com, the APEC MSME Marketplace which will showcase products and sellers, and trade facilitation services, is the result of the collective efforts of the 21 APEC member economies to contribute to the shared vision of mainstreaming the MSMEs into the global economy.
Lopez added that growth can only be meaningful if it is inclusive and sustainable and this is a priority objective under the Duterte administration.
“This is also the enduring vision of the APEC MSME Marketplace, its reason for existence,” he said.
The portal aims to: (1) facilitate business networking and matching involving MSMEs and large enterprises; (2) enhance MSMEs awareness on trade regulations and encourage participation in policy development; and (3) improve knowledge sharing and capacity building for MSMEs.
To engage the MSME sector to help build sustainable and inclusive growth in the region, the APEC MSME Marketplace is being implemented in three phases.
On its first phase (2016-2017), the Marketplace created linkages to key information by member economies and other available resources, particularly on trade regulations and business support services. In its current phase (2017-2018), more site functionalities are being developed. This includes, among others, the provision for MSMEs to join the directory of exporters.
For the third phase (2018-2019), APEC is working on increasing the trade facilitation capability of the Marketplace through more business matching activities.
Users and stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback to help improve the site as the region’s trading environment continues to evolve.
Through the Marketplace, MSMEs are well placed to leverage on the endless and exciting opportunities to go global and penetrate more markets.
“The challenge now is to continue to take the innovation and trade agenda forward by leveraging on strategic partnerships that will enable MSMEs to gain the most benefit,” Lopez added.
He called on all APEC member economies to work for closer cooperation and stronger collaboration as they work toward fulfilling their commitment to MSMEs: to help them become competitive and resilient as they embrace the opportunities and challenges globalization brings