26 September 2015


E-Commerce is driver of inclusive growth for MSMEs, says APEC business advisory group
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC) urged the government and the private sector to embrace e-Commerce as the driver of inclusive growth for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Doris Magsaysay-Ho, chair of the APEC ABAC and the CEO of Magsaysay Inc., said that e-Commerce (electronic commerce) would boost the participation of MSMEs in the global value chain.

She said governments must immediately strengthen the needs of MSMEs in terms of infrastructure and technology to encourage future generations to innovate and start new ideas.

“It is an urgent thing to do because in the future . . . brilliant minds must be given the opportunity to participate in innovation,” Magsaysay-Ho added during the APEC SME Ministers-CEO Dialogue.

“We decided to focus our roundtable yesterday — we met for three hours — on innovation. Everybody has a clear idea to bring SMEs to e-commerce,” she added.

Magsaysay-Ho said it is exciting that each member-economy in APEC “is getting ready to participate in the next drive of growth, which is technology-based innovation, and how that would affect our economies.”

For the past week, APEC delegates and their meetings have continuously emphasized the need for MSMEs to access technology to make their products and services available for the global community.

During the dialogue, Magsaysay-Ho also highlighted the importance of bringing in the private sector into the discussions of how they can help SMEs become a part of an economy’s inclusive growth.

The SME Ministers-CEO Dialogue brought together government officials and the private sector to discuss policies that can be agreed upon and measures that can be taken to boost how MSMEs can play an active role in the goal for inclusive growth of APEC member economies.

In the Philippines, 65 percent of workers are in the MSME sector, but small businesses suffer from unfriendly regulations and policies that hinder their access to finance and new technologies.

For this year, the APEC gave special focus on the importance of the participation of MSMEs in the global value chain to spur economic growth in the region. (APEC Communications Group)

OFW start-up bakeshop to go nationwide due to govt policies – Sen. Bam Aquino
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) A local pastry shop in Iloilo City may soon find their goods at Bo’s Coffee shops nationwide with the help of government policies and the private sector, Senator Bam Aquino said Friday.

During the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Small and Medium Enterprises Ministers-CEO Dialogue, the senator shared the story of how a family of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Brunei started their own business that has grown to become a local favorite.

The shop sells cakes, cupcakes, and other pastries.

According to Aquino, the OFW family heard about how the Negosyo Center, a product of Republic Act 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act, can help ordinary Filipinos establish their own businesses.

Upon arriving in Manila, the family went to the local business center in Iloilo City of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to inquire about the support they can get from the government.

After the initial registration, they were able to get the proper training needed to start a small business through a loan from the OFW facility of the Land Bank of the Philippines.

The family started selling their products through an online shop on the social media site Facebook. But with the loan they got from Landbank, they are now starting to expand by buying more equipment and trying to improve their products.

LandBank has an OFW Reintegration Program to provide an opportunity for OFWs to engage in businesses instead of finding employment abroad. The program offers financing for working capital and fixed asset acquisition.

Aquino said that after improving their facilities and products, Bo’s Coffee, a homegrown Filipino coffee shop, is now “checking out” their cakes to see if they can bring them to their stores located around the country.

Aquino said the story showed “how a family can go from being unemployed OFWs to actually having a business they can be proud of.”

It also showed how the government and the private sector came in to help a local family hone their talent and becomes successful in their endeavor.

“Now, can we find their cupcakes in your economy? How can that simple family find their products in your economy?” Aquino asked.

“Hopefully, with the dialogue today, we can come up with ideas all our economies can benefit from,” he said.

Although the Philippines has been enjoying “tremendous economic growth,” the government wants it to be inclusive, and learning from APEC economies will help the Philippines craft its own policies to help the MSMEs industry, Aquino added. (APEC Communications Group)

APEC officials boost MSMES entry into global market
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) Through individual and collective actions of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (AEPC) member economies, the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector is poised to become a more potent force that contributes to the economic prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

After five days of intense discussion, APEC Ministers and their representatives responsible for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) formally adopted the “APEC Iloilo Initiative: Growing Global MSMEs for Inclusive Development” as a guiding framework in integrating MSMEs in international trade and global value chains (GVCs).

“We will work to implement the initiatives under this framework to maximize the benefits of cooperation,” the SME ministers said in a joint statement issued Friday night.

The APEC ministers also agreed to launch the “APEC MSME Marketplace” as a one-stop portal to facilitate access to information related to doing business in the region and to inform on projects and activities that promote MSMEs’ integration to international trade.

Recognizing the importance of micro enterprises in the economy and the need to address their special concerns, the APEC officials vowed to remove trade barriers to facilitate MSME entry to markets, advance modernization and standards and conformance of MSMEs, and promote inclusive growth through sustainable and resilient MSMEs.

Free trade and access to global market

Guided by their collective desire to provide MSMEs opportunities and a cohesive approach for them to contribute to the region’s growth, the ministers instruct officials to “widen the reach of advocacies on MSME trade regulatory education, and to engage MSMEs and ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council) in the development of policy and regulatory environment conducive to the growth of MSMEs.” They noted that a platform for information sharing, networking, consultations, and feedback is vital to this effort.

In order to provide a better business environment for MSMEs, the officials said APEC economies must also continue to address corruption and unethical business practices act which is a significant market access barrier for MSMEs and which disproportionately impact on their ability to succeed.

The APEC ministers likewise expressed support to the Philippine initiative to create a virtual marketplace of MSMEs which will facilitate business matching, and provide information about international trade standards and regulations, as well as on trade promotion assistance packages provided by APEC.

“We recognize its added value as a networking platform and feedback mechanism on how challenges faced by MSMEs seeking to participate in global trade may be addressed,” they stressed. “This is a vital initiative resulting from the recommendations of projects and meetings this year.”

Technology as driver of innovation

According to the APEC ministers, technologies and digital economy are crucial to harnessing APEC’s potential for economic growth.

In this regard, they encourage all member economies to work towards building a secure and fully developed digital economy as part of Business Continuity Planning, guided by the objective of limiting disruptions to global supply chains and safeguarding trade and investment for inclusive growth.

They acknowledge the important role that the digital economy plays in enhancing access to the global market and driving innovation for MSMEs. At the same time, the APEC ministers recognize the importance of leveraging the digital economy to expand internationalization opportunities for MSMEs by widening access to the internet and building capacities to enable MSMEs to adopt internet-based models utilizing e-Commerce platforms and online portals that will enable them to explore and conduct cross-border transactions.

“Regulatory alignment, an efficient digital ecosystem, human capacity building, and a holistic approach to the creation of a digital economy are vital to these efforts,” the APEC officials said.

To ensure the inclusion of APEC’s future generations in an integrated and inclusive regional economy that is supported by MSMEs, the officials said APEC needs to vigorously promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the education of its human resources. This will help cultivate talents for innovation and strengthen innovation capacities of MSMEs. APEC needs to promote education and capacity building among MSMEs in ways that these create a better understanding of the interconnectedness between science and technology, academics, and real-world problem solving.

APEC economies likewise need to collectively work toward addressing the barriers posed by differing standards and technical regulations to boost the competitiveness of MSMEs and increase their prospects for internationalization and integration into GVCs.

As trade in digital goods and services increases, the free flow of data across borders is an important pre-condition to enabling businesses to operate in numerous markets without restriction.

Breeding ground for innovation

Recognizing the vital role of MSMEs in bringing new ideas to the market and in fostering innovation, the APEC ministers instruct officials to work towards the creation of an ecosystem of entrepreneurship in the APEC region to encourage the development and growth of globally competitive innovation-driven MSMEs.

“APEC needs to build an ecosystem that supports enterprise creation and improves the environment for innovation, as well as facilitates financial inclusion for start-ups,” the APEC ministers said in their joint statement.

The officials highlighted the need for APEC to further strengthen MSMEs’ participation in local supply chains and GVCs through long-term, value-driven partnerships between large enterprises and MSMEs.

They agreed to promote policy, business and regulatory environments that foster the long-term growth potential of MSMEs. We recognize the contribution of local development plans and the role of enterprise clusters in enhancing productivity, innovation, and inclusive growth.

“Partnerships, linkages, and networking among innovation centers, research communities, and academia, as well as those involving large and small businesses need to be supported and enhanced,” the ministers said.

Recognizing that MSMEs’ access to finance is a cross-cutting issue and a key enabler of MSME expansion, internationalization, and productivity improvement, the APEC ministers expressed support to the efforts for closer collaboration with relevant public and private sector institutions, including ABAC in discussing ways to widen access to finance and business resilience among MSMEs.

They urge financial institutions to look beyond financial records and consider MSMEs’ overall business plans and potential.


As they seek to build on the achievements this year, the ministers instruct officials to harness synergies across APEC work streams to maximize the expertise of relevant committees and sub-fora in promoting MSMEs’ growth. They have assigned the SME Working Group (SMEWG) to exercise leadership in guiding other APEC fora toward ensuring greater complementation in efforts to address issues that threaten the survival and hinder the growth of MSMEs.

The officials further encourage close coordination by the SMEWG with relevant APEC fora to review the trade facilitation work streams, improve trade facilitation for MSMEs, and intensify the delivery of capacity building programs to ensure that MSMEs benefit from trade and investment liberalization towards achieving stronger economic growth across the region.

In developing the next SMEWG Strategic Plan, they instruct officials to coordinate across all APEC fora and integrate priorities under the Boracay Action Agenda and its implementation plan; the Digital Economy Action Plan; and the Iloilo Initiative, and to put in place an appropriate monitoring system to assess the progress.

Finally, the ministers voiced their support in giving the SMEWG permanent status in APEC.

The SME Ministerial Statement will be presented to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November in Manila. (APEC Communications Group)

Palace assures assistance for Filipino Muslim killed in Hajj stampede
The government will provide assistance to the family of a Filipino pilgrim who died in a stampede last Thursday at the Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Malacañang said on Saturday.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said President Benigno S. Aquino III gave such instruction after being apprised of the situation by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“It was unfortunately a very tragic incident and we extend our condolences to the family of the victim,” said Valte over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“Our Philippine Consulate in Jeddah is already in contact with the family, and the President has also been apprised of the situation, and ang instructions po ng Pangulo is ibigay po natin ang necessary assistance sa pamilya ng biktima,” she added.

The identity of the victim has been withheld following the request of his family, according to the Palace official, but he was not based in Saudi Arabia.

“Ang alam ko po ay taga-rito po siya na pumunta doon. Wala ho rin akong masyadong detalye owing to the fact that they (the family) wanted to keep the identity (of the victim) private,” Valte said.

Death toll from the tragic stampede, which occurred right in the middle of the annual Hajj pilgrimage of members of the Islamic faith, has reportedly reached over 700 with hundreds more hurt.

Valte, however, said only one Filipino casualty has so far been confirmed by the DFA and it is yet to receive reports of other citizens involved in the mishap. PND (hdc)

Strong economic fundamentals could buoy Phl in the midst of uncertainty, says official
Malacanang said it is confident that the country could overcome whatever challenges that lie ahead because of its strong economic fundamentals.Although Fitch Ratings upgraded the Philippines from stable to positive, the looming El Niño phenomenon is feared to impact on the country’s economy.

The Philippines is resilient economically because it has invested in making its fundamentals strong, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview on Saturday.

“Laging sinasabi ni Secretary (Cesar) Purisima, that the fundamentals of our economy are strong and they’re good and ito ang nagdadala sa atin,” Valte said in an interview over dzRB Radyo Ng Bayan.

Apart from the contributions of the country’s overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the economy, the booming business process outsourcing (BPO) industry as well as the growing tourism sector are major contributors, Valte said.

But Valte acknowledged the challenges that the country will be facing and it requires hard work on the part of the government to overcome those hurdles.

“With the hard work that we have been putting into it and the strength of our fundamentals, we believe that notwithstanding the challenges that we face, we would be able to sustain the good growth that we have been having,” she said.

The El Niño phenomenon, which could exact a heavy toll on the agriculture sector, is expected to hit the country in the third quarter of this year until the first quarter of 2016. PND (as)

APEC members highlight role of E-commerce in Iloilo initiative
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) E-commerce is a very vital tool because it serves as marketing platform for the Asia Pacific regions’ micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), a trade official said.

“So this is one of the initiatives that we see in our agreed Iloilo Initiative and earlier this afternoon we had several sharing of the extent of initiatives and innovations in the area of ICT and digital economy,” Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said in a press conference on Friday.

“And we hope to pursue that in all other economies as we learn from a lot of initiatives and innovations from other countries.”

Asked how APEC members will pitch for e-Commerce in the region and how they are preparing for its adoption, Maglaya said different economies are at different levels when it comes to readiness on e-Commerce.

However, she said that everybody is aware and fully appreciative that this is the way forward.

“It is the platform now, not just for markets, but also for business resiliency. Business resiliency is very important when you look at the digital economy and ICT,” she said.

In the Philippines, an awareness campaign is ongoing, Maglaya said, adding that they will continue to work on information dissemination.

Also, she said that the Philippines should have the infrastructure both in the urban and rural areas so MSMEs could use them and ensure that they are connected.

At the same time, Maglaya said that in APEC they will be establishing a new program in the market place, where there could be an exchange of information among economies and possible market linkages. The Philippines was tasked by APEC to organize it, she said.

“There are economies that are already advanced in this area and we’re learning from them and this is what’s important in this gathering,” she said.

These are sharing of success stories and innovations, as well as systems, and methods to bring up MSMEs to competitive levels in the global value chain.

APEC officials and delegates have just concluded here in Iloilo City the 22nd SME Ministerial Meeting. PND (as)

APEC member economies launch Iloilo Initiative to attain inclusive development
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) Member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation launched the Iloilo Initiative on Friday outlining works to be taken to make micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) globally competitive and leverage on the benefits of digital and Internet economy.

One of the priority initiatives is giving MSMEs bigger voice and better opportunities. Another thrust is advancing policy framework to promote MSMEs participation in the global value chain and international trade.

APEC have spelled out several activities to open up more opportunities for MSMEs and these includes organizing APEC SME summit by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), holding of annual SME ministers-CEO dialogue, strengthening the operations of MSME association in each economy and building networks of MSMEs.

APEC also eyes to build incubators, accelerators and innovation centers in the region to promote information exchange and capacity building.

To promote MSME participation in the global value chain, APEC members agreed to set up the APEC MSME Marketplace, an interactive repository of APEC activities and members’ efforts to promote cooperation and linkages among MSMEs.

The online portal has the following pillars: business facilitation and networking, enhancing MSME awareness and trade relations, and knowledge sharing on trade and capacity building.

The growth of APEC economies soared over the years with their combined real gross domestic product (GDP) doubling from just $16 trillion in 1989 to $31 trillion in 2013.

MSMEs are major contributors to APEC’s economic growth, as they make up over 97 percent of all enterprises and generate more than 70 percent of all jobs in the region.

Despite their huge contribution to growth however, MSMEs have yet to realize their greater participation to global trade.

MSMEs on the average account for less than 35 percent of annual global exports. PND (as)

APEC Small and Medium Enterprise Ministers, CEOs meet to identify MSME-focused policies
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) in Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Ministers and business leaders of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member-economies held a dialogue on the margins of the 22nd APEC SME Ministerial Meeting here.

The APEC SME Ministers-CEO Dialogue aims to identify policies that will build the capacity of MSMEs for them to participate in the global value chain.

The dialogue also targets to develop policies that will improve the business environment for MSMEs such as trade facilitation, lowering cost of doing business, and engaging MSMEs in digital economy.

“The dialogue offers a perfect opportunity for interaction between public and private sectors to exchange views on how an innovation agenda for MSMEs may be translated into concrete action towards increasing their competitiveness, and help them access the global market,” Philippines’ head of delegation to the SME Ministerial Meeting Zenaida C. Maglaya said.

Maglaya is also the undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry.

On the other note, APEC Business Advisory Council Chair Doris Magsaysay-Ho said the SME Ministers-CEO Dialogue focused on technology-based innovation.

“We have very little time to set the ecosystem, very little time to set infrastructure, that opportunity will be available for the next generation,” said Ho noting that the future growth of APEC region will be driven by innovative businesses.

“And how we build that ecosystem will determine which business in which economies are participating as creators or just end up being consumers,” she added.

She stressed that the dialogue between governments and business communities in the APEC region will give depth to the Boracay Action Agenda of globalizing MSMEs. PNA (kc)

APEC ministers hail establishment of China loan facility for small, medium enterprises
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) APEC ministers said on Friday that they support the establishment of a special loan amounting up to $2 billion by China Development Bank (CDB) to support innovation and investment of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Asia Pacific region.

“We also acknowledge the initiatives that CDB and their counterparts in the Asia Pacific region facilitate the financial support for SMEs through interbank cooperation,” the APEC ministers said in a statement on Friday at the conclusion of the 22nd Small and Medium Enterprises Meeting.

At the same time, the ministers recognized the importance of MSMEs’ access to finance as a key enabler for MSME expansion, internationalization and productivity improvement among MSMEs.

They also affirmed the policy directions set in the Boracay Action Agenda and the Cebu Action Plan to widen the financial options of MSMEs, including non-traditional and innovative financing, as well as public-private financing initiatives.

“We further acknowledge that MSMEs require both capacity-building and financial support and urge financial institutions to look beyond financial records and consider MSMEs’ overall business plans and potential,” they said in the statement.

The ministers also called to enhance efforts to promote MSME resilience against disasters and financial crisis to improve their global supply chain resilience.

The role of public financing was also recognized by the ministers and the importance of credit guarantee systems designed for MSMEs rather the rescue of more established financial institutions.

Financial literacy was also given a major attention particularly after the 2008 global financial crisis due to significant evidence that educating MSMEs on finance benefit them, making them more cost efficient and dynamic.

They hailed Thailand’s initiative in conducting a financial literacy survey that identifies the state of financial education in the Asia Pacific region.

“The information gathered is intended as a means of assessing the need for and shaping possible new APEC SME working group initiatives towards the promotion of MSME financial literacy,” they said. PND (as)

APEC to establish marketplace for micro, small, and medium enterprises
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) targets to establish an online portal that will allow APEC member-economies to promote cooperation and linkages to develop micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Called as the APEC MSME Marketplace, this is a component of the Iloilo Action Initiative which is an interactive repository of information initiated by the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry.

The Iloilo Action Initiative, on the other hand, is the result of the 22nd APEC SME Ministerial Meeting here concluded on Friday.

The APEC MSME Marketplace focuses on three pillars.

The first pillar is to facilitate business networking and matching involving MSMEs.

This aims to strengthen MSMEs partnership with large enterprises through providing relevant information on MSMEs and large companies to encourage business matching among these enterprises.

The second pillar is to enhance MSME awareness and feedback on trade regulations in order for MSMEs to access information on new non-tariff measures.

The third pillar is to improve mechanisms for knowledge sharing on trade facilitation, business support, partnerships, and capacity building activities for MSMEs.

This pillar eyes to share best practices in the region such as programs and success stories of helping MSMEs to participate in the global value chain.

The APEC SME Working Group will start the establishment of the APEC MSME Marketplace next year while implementation is eyed by 2017. PNA (kc)

APEC economies agree to fight corruption that hinders participation of micro, small, and medium enterprises in the global market
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) APEC ministers recognized on Friday that corruption and unethical business practices hampers micro, small and medium enterprises from entering the global market.

“We agree that corruption and unethical business practices act as a significant market access barrier for MSMEs, which disproportionately impact on their ability to succeed,” the ministers said in a statement on Friday.

“We agree that APEC economies must continue to address these barriers as they undermine innovation, job growth, economic stability and cross-border trade.”

The ministers also commended the progress of the APEC Business Ethics for SME Initiative in addressing unethical practices in sectors of export interest to MSMEs.

They also congratulated the medical device and biopharmaceutical sectors for achieving the Nanjing Declaration’s goal of doubling the number of industry associations that adopted the code of ethics from, 33 to 66.

Also, the APEC ministers recognized the importance of intellectual property assets such as brands and trademarks for MSME growth and expansion.

“Enhanced knowledge of intellectual property and IP valuation and commercializations can assist MSMEs develop competitive and global brands,” they said.

“We also recognize the importance of assisting MSMEs in growing their brands through IP awareness and protection and inclusion of necessary measures for the effective use of IP assets by MSMEs.”

The ministers concluded on Friday their discussions for the 22nd Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting. They also launched on Friday the Iloilo Initiative that detailed future works to be done to make MSMEs globally competitive and join the value chain. PND (as)

Peru to continue Philippines’ advocacy in developing micro, small, and medium enterprises in Asia Pacific region
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) Peru has expressed its support for the Philippines’ advocacy in developing micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Asia Pacific region.

Concluding the 22nd APEC SME Ministerial Meeting in Iloilo City, delegate from Peru said the country will pursue the agenda of strengthening MSMEs in APEC by promoting innovation and connectivity, among others.

Peru will be the host country for the 2016 APEC Summit following the Philippines’ hosting this year.

The next APEC SME Ministerial Meeting to be hosted by Peru will be in September 2016.

The APEC SME Ministers during their meeting here has adopted the “APEC Iloilo Initiative: Growing Global MSMEs for Inclusive Development” which will be a guiding framework for member-economies in linking MSMEs to the global value chain.

The Iloilo Initiative will be endorsed to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Manila this November. PNA (kc)