Opening Ceremony of the 4th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Technology Conference and Fair

Qingdao, People's Republic of China, 18 May 2006
  • Speech by Ambassador Tran Trong Toan, Executive Director, APEC Secretariat
Honorable Ou Xinqian, Vice Director of National Development and Reform Commission, P. R. China,
Honorable Mr. Sun Shoupu, Vice Governor of Shandong province, P. R. China,
Honorable Mr. Xiageng, Mayor of Qingdao Municipality,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On this opening ceremony of the 4th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Technology Conference and Fair, on behalf of the APEC Secretariat, may I wholeheartedly congratulate and thank the Government of the Peoples' Republic of China and the City of Qingdao for their great efforts in organizing this important event. I would also like to warmly welcome distinguished guests from government, academics, business community and all friends from APEC member economies to this Conference and Fair.
Since its inception in 1989, APEC has focused its work on enhancing the goals of economic development and prosperity. In this process, SMEs have been the backbone of the region's economic growth. SMEs represent 98% of all enterprises, 60% of the private sector jobs, generate 50% of sales, 30% of direct exports and 10% of the FDI by value. The success of SMEs is the success of the region's economy.
With the development of globalization and knowledge-based economy, in addition to traditional factors such as land, labor and capital, technology and innovation have become important determinants of the SMEs? economic success. APEC SME Ministers in August 2005 approved the "Daegu Initiative on SME Innovation Action Plan" that seeks to improve the economic and policy environments of all member economies, to make them more conducive to SME innovation.
The objective of the Initiative is to help APEC economies identify factors to accelerate innovation. The agenda identified seven crucial areas for establishing an innovation-friendly economic environment, namely (i) Developing Human resources and technology through linkage between industry and educational and research institutions; (ii) Accessing specialist assistance and advice; (iii) Enhancing availability of capital to innovative SMEs; (iv) Networking and clustering for innovative SMEs; (v) Establishing appropriate legal and regulatory structure; (vi) Establishing a market consistent economic environment; (vii) Developing methodologies for effectively measuring progress in the implementation of innovation programs for SMEs
As the host of APEC 2006 Viet Nam and member economies have identified Enhancing Competitiveness of SMEs as one of APEC's priorities. With this, APEC 2006 will help create more conducive environment for the development and innovation of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). It is expected that in September 2006, APEC SME Ministers will approve the "Hanoi Declaration on Strengthening SME Competitiveness for Trade and Investment".
We highly appreciate the great efforts by the Government of P.R.China and the City of Qingdao to promote the development of the MSMEs in the APEC region. The Third APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Technology Conference and Fair (APEC METC) jointly hosted by China Center for Business Cooperation and Coordination and Qingdao Municipal Government was successfully held in June 2004 in Qingdao. Today, we are very happy to inaugurate the 4th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Technology Conference and Fair. What is highly meaningful is that the Conference and Fair are again taking place in Qingdao, a dynamic city with the most robust economic development. With the theme "Technology Boosts Economy/Cooperation Creates Future", this Conference and Fair is one of the most important APEC activities as it creates another precious opportunity for enhancing APEC cooperation in the development of MSMEs and promoting MSMEs to access to technology and innovation as a way to attain economic growth in the era of globalization and knowledge-based economy.
With that in mind, may I wish the 4th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Technology Conference and Fair in Qingdao great success.
Thank you.