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Annex B - Actions to address barriers facing smes in trading in the region

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are integral to economic growth and development in our region, accounting for around 90 percent of all businesses and as much as 60 percent of the workforce in the Asia-Pacific. These businesses are an important source of the innovative and forward-thinking ideas that are often the starting point of new approaches to doing business that can engender tremendous economic growth. Making it easier for SMEs to export is an important step that APEC can take to encourage the growth and development of SMEs in the region. Therefore, economies have committed to undertaking the following actions.

• Share information between economies on top export financing approaches for SMEs and identify best practices for export credit agencies to improve SMEs’ access to financing;

• Develop best practices to assist SMEs in internationalizing operations and identifying foreign business opportunities;

• Endorse principles for voluntary codes of business ethics in the construction and engineering, medical devices, and biopharmaceutical sectors to ensure open and transparent business environments;

• Promote the use of new technologies to increase operational efficiencies to lower the impact of high transportation costs and make information about logistics market dynamics more accessible;

• Develop an APEC Website containing links to economies’ customs websites with basic customs information in domestic languages and English, and promote the use of SME-relevant resources on economies’ customs Websites to assist in the navigation of customs procedures and documentation requirements;

• Expand the APEC Services Trade Access Requirements (STAR) Database to improve access to differing legal, regulatory, and technical requirements for SME services exporters;

• Ease access to basic information on how to register intellectual property (IP), including relevant websites, for each economy on an APEC Website in domestic languages and English where possible, promote the use of single windows to facilitate IP registration in economies, and improve access to related educational materials to make it easier to register IP;

• Update the 1998 Blueprint for Action on Electronic Commerce to keep pace with developments in technology and innovations in business models in a way that accounts for the significant role that electronic commerce plays in expanding SME access to global markets; and

• Enhance access to information on the benefits of FTAs through summaries of relevant chapters on the APEC Website on Tariffs and Rules of Origin in domestic languages and English in the future, identify economies’ best practices to promote FTA utilization, and prepare a guidebook to assist SMEs in using FTAs to expand their export opportunities.