Eighth APEC Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Ministerial Meeting

Shanghai, People's Republic of China, 28 August 2001
  • Report by Ambassador Zhang Yan, Executive Director, APEC Secretariat
Mr. Chair,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all allow me to thank our host, the State Economic and Trade Commission of China and Shanghai Municipal Government for the excellent arrangements and warm hospitality. The Eighth APEC SME Ministerial Meeting is one of the major events of this year's APEC process. I believe that the outcome of the meeting will enhance China's efforts to reach the goals of APEC 2001 and become one of the deliverables for Leaders Meeting in October in Shanghai.
It is my honor to present to you this morning a report on behalf of the APEC Secretariat. The report contains information on tasking and instructions originated from APEC Leaders as well as APEC Ministers and Sectoral Ministers related to SME, and deliberations in their respective meetings since last SME Minister Meeting in Brunei. The report also outlines projects and activities of APEC fora in the development of SMEs in the region.
Now please allow me to present to you some of its highlights.
First, since last SMEs Ministerial Meeting in Brunei, APEC Leaders noted that there has been significant progress in APEC in strengthening markets, developing human capital and promoting the development of small and medium enterprises. One of which is the establishment of the Biz APEC website as a tool for seeking new opportunities within the region and to facilitate trade and commerce. APEC Leaders emphasized that this initiative can facilitate small and medium enterprises in their efforts to build strategic alliances and benefit from international trade and investment.
Facilitating the flow of goods and services as well as reducing the cost of international transactions has particular benefit for small and medium enterprises, APEC Leaders instructed Ministers to continue work on simplifying and harmonizing customs procedures and standards and conformance.
APEC Leaders applauded the SME Ministers' commitment to step up engagement with business and their evolving cooperation initiative on SMEs and new business support.
Second, at the ministerial level, a number of sectoral meetings also devoted attention to the special concerns of SMEs. Those which had deliberated on SME concerns include the Trade Minister Meeting in Darwin last year and their 2001 Meeting in Shanghai, and the Tourism Ministers Meeting in Korea last year.
Meanwhile, the APEC High Level Meeting on Human Capacity Building held in Beijing, China, last May made a call to APEC member economies to develop relevant program to enhance entrepreneurial and management skills, particularly among small and medium enterprises to meet the new demands from globalization and the new economy.
Third, as for APEC fora, various projects and activities which benefited SMEs have been and are being undertaken in 2001.
Related to the first sub-theme of this meeting: Advancing Innovation, work has been undertaken by the recently established e-APEC Task Force, the Trade Promotion Working Group, the Industrial and Science Technology Working Group (ISTWG), and the Tourism Working Group. Meanwhile, the Electronic Commerce Steering Group has came up with an APEC-wide Action Plan to Support Use of Electronic Commerce by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and the plan is intended to provide a framework for actions by APEC member economies both individually and collectively.
Related to the second sub-theme: Facilitating Financing, the Investment Expert Group, a sub-fora under the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), and the Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) are now overseeing projects and activities in this ares. Meanwhile, the ISTWG is also now overseeing a project dealing with venture capitals for SMEs.
Related to the third Sub-theme: Improving Environment for SME Development, seven APEC fora are undertaking projects on this issues. They are the Sub-Committee on Standard and Conformance, the Group of Business mobility, the Government Procurement Expert Group, the SOM Sub-Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation (ESC), the HRDWG, the ISTWG, the Tourism WG and the Working Group on Trade Promotion.
Your Excellencies,
From the above report, it is encouraging to see growing importance attached by our Leaders, Ministers and various APEC fora to SMEs. I am sure the outcome of this meeting will provide fresh guidance and impetus to the future cooperation in this important field.
In conclusion, I wish to thank you for your attention and wish you a fruitful and successful meeting.