October 16, 2021

Small companies are the backbone of the APEC economy, say, ministers.

Ministers in charge of small and medium companies in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have pledged to continue to address the needs of small businesses in the region via assistance programs, citing their importance as economic engines.

According to a statement released by the 27th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting and received here on Saturday, October 10, 2021, the affirmation was made as the region proceeds through the next stages of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic response and recovery.

On Saturday, ministers met online for the 27th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting, with the aim of strengthening the resilience of small companies throughout the Asia-Pacific region via digitization, inclusive development, and well-being.

Stuart Nash, New Zealand’s Minister for Small Business, presided over the meeting.

Nash emphasized the importance of small companies as “powerhouses of economies and communities” in his opening comments.

“They bring our communities together.” “The survival and resilience of our small companies in the face of this epidemic is essential to a long-term economic recovery and community cohesiveness,” Nash added.

MSMEs account for more than 97 percent of companies in the APEC area, employing more than 60 percent of the workforce and contributing 40 to 60 percent of economic growth in most countries.

In the midst of a worldwide epidemic, Nash encouraged members to recognize the critical role of trade in ensuring a robust economic recovery for the region’s small companies.

“Our economies must take strong steps to boost MSMEs and start-ups, guaranteeing access to international markets and supply chains by enabling an open and inclusive trade and investment environment,” he said.

The APEC ministers recognized the essential role of digitalization in enabling successful recovery from economic shocks and concluded that digital solutions and technologies are no longer optional, but required.

“We were able to overcome many of the major hurdles we encountered as a consequence of Covid-19, such as the limited movement of products and persons, thanks to rapid innovation and digital technology,” Nash said.

“There are tremendous possibilities for APEC economies to improve collaboration around digital technology and innovation in order to build more efficient and resilient futures for us all,” he said.

Nash also encouraged member countries to guarantee that policies benefit everyone, especially women, indigenous peoples, and other disadvantaged groups since a stronger emphasis on inclusive development will unlock hitherto untapped economic potential.

“It’s equally important to consider the owners’ well-being while building small company resilience,” he added. “APEC economies may improve participation and productivity by decreasing inequalities and increasing the well-being of small company owners, thus underpinning economic stability and development and enhancing the general well-being of our communities.”

Small companies have an important role in creating a long-term recovery that is ecologically sustainable.

Ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) decided to establish an environment that encourages small companies to participate in innovative, ecologically friendly practices and activities.

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