APEC SMEs Working Group’s meeting opens in Ho Chi Minh City
The two-day meeting is part of the 24th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM) scheduled to take place on 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 that enterprises account for 98% of total firms and have been playing an important role in 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 and have developed legislation in line with international economic practices. However, many SMEs are still struggling in terms of weak competitiveness. Therefore, APEC economies and SMEs jointly promote their own internal strengths through enhancing effective governance, facilitating technological innovation in priority access to finance and opening up new market opportunities, while ensuring an enabling environment for conducting 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 in which 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% of the global population, 55% of GDP and 44% of world trade.
Vietnam joined APEC in 1998. SMEs employ more than 50 percent of the workforce and contribute over 40% of the GDP in Vietnam.