The 45th meeting of the APEC Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Working Group kicked off in Ho Chi Minh City on September 13.
|Vietnam Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong
The two-day meeting is part of the 24th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM) scheduled for September 15 in the southern hub.
Speaking at the event, Dang Huy Dong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment of Vietnam, highlighted the role of SMEs, saying the enterprises account for 98 percent of total firms and have been playing an important part of economic development and employment generation.
SMEs are a significant source of innovation, and the engine for economic growth in the Asia Pacific region, he added.
“Through APEC forums, SMEs have gained much knowledge, legislation in line with international economic practices. However, many SMEs are still struggling weak competitiveness. Therefore, APEC economies and SMEs jointly promote with their own internal strengths through enhancing effective governance, facilitate technological innovation in priority access to finance, opening up new market opportunities meanwhile ensuring an enabling environment for doing business,” he said.
Participants will focus their discussions on finding good examples of entrepreneurship, innovation and access to finance, business ecosystems and market access for SMEs development.
They will also discuss potential for practical cooperation, and most importantly, identify prioritised areas to strengthen SMEs competitiveness throughout the APEC region.
Established in 1989, APEC is now the largest economic trade cooperation group in the Asia-Pacific region. It includes 21 member economies and accounts for 40 percent of the global population, 55 percent of GDP and 44 percent of world trade.
Vietnam joined APEC in 1998. SMEs employ more than 50 percent of the workforce and contribute over 40 percent of the GDP in Vietnam.