Enhancing the Participation of MSMEs in International Trade. PTIC-Geneva

21 June 2016, Geneva – The Philippines, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore and Thailand, together with the International Trade Center (ITC) organized a WTO workshop on “Enhancing the Participation of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in International Trade.”

The Philippines has been headstrong in its MSME advocacy and has successfully launched the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs in Global Trade and the Ilo-Ilo Initiative as the host APEC 2015. The Philippines has also taken this advocacy to the main trade body – the WTO.

The workshop is a continuation of the dialogue that the Philippines has undertaken in 2015 to bring MSMEs front and center in trade policy discussions. “The workshop created another opportunity to enhance our awareness of the role of MSMEs in international trade. We were able to share experiences and identify best practices, success factors and challenges related to the participation of MSMEs in international trade. The intention of the workshop was to offer the WTO Members the best source for this information, which is why, the Philippines has arranged for a peer-led exchange by people who work directly with MSMEs, complemented by expert input” – said Philippine Mission to the WTO Ambassador, Esteban Conejos,Jr.

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DG Azevêdo welcomes efforts to boost trade opportunities for small businesses

Director-General Roberto Azevêdo attended a workshop today (21 June) on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), focused on enhancing their participation in international trade. The event was organized by the permanent missions of the Philippines, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore and Thailand, supported by the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The discussion focused on the specific barriers that MSMEs face in the global trading system and what steps could be taken to lower those barriers.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said:

“This is a very important issue. MSMEs are responsible for the largest share of employment opportunities in most economies — up to 90% in some countries — and they are big employers of women and young people. At the domestic level MSMEs have major economic importance, but their participation in trade simply doesn’t match up. This is true in both developing and developed countries. So it seems that we may be missing a significant opportunity.

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Enhancing the participation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) in international trade

A workshop organized by the Permanent Missions of the Philippines, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, the Republic of Singapore and Thailand with the International Trade Centre (ITC)

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) constitute the overwhelming majority of firms and are a major source of employment in the economies of WTO members. Globally, SMEs make up over 95% of all firms, account for approximately 50% of value added and 60% of total employment (ACCA, 2010; Ayyagari et al., 2011; Edinburgh Group, 2013).

Micro enterprises, the smallest component of the SME sector, are increasingly the largest sources of employment in many developing countries, especially for women and youth.

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DTI-FTSC holds trade negotiations course

The Department of Trade and Industry’s Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) in line with World Trade Organization Technical Assistance and Capacity Building (WTO-TACB) program hones Philippine officials’ trade negotiations skills through a week-long course on trade negotiations entitled “Trade Negotiations Simulation Skills” (TNSS) last June 6-10 at the Philippine Trade Training Center, Pasay City.

Participated in by various government officials involved in different trade negotiations, the TNSS was one of the initiatives of Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Geneva, Switzerland which aims to capacitate Philippine representatives when it comes to trade negotiations and dialogues.

“The importance of enhancing the skills and techniques of our negotiators cannot be overemphasized. We have recently concluded the Philippines – European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement (PH-EFTA FTA) and we are currently negotiating new FTAs namely the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Philippine-European Union (PH-EU FTA). To effectively carry out our negotiating mandate, we need competent individuals with requisite skills in different areas,” said DTI Industry Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.

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DTI-IPG urges MSMEs to go global

The Department of Trade and Industry’s Industry Promotion Group (DTI-IPG) urged micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to follow international product standards to break into the global market - in a seminar conducted under the Negosyo, Konsyumer, at iba pa (NKATBP) event held in Waterfront Hotel, Cebu City last June 11.

Participated in by over 200 MSMEs, exporters, would-be exporters, entrepreneurs including local startups and innovators, government trade promotions and business development officers, the seminar dubbed as “Catapulting New Business for the Global Market” held various discussions on how to drive businesses into the growing global market and how government programs and initiatives can assist in finding the right market for their products and services.

The IPG, composed of the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC), Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC), Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), and the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), takes the lead in developing and implementing programs and activities that promote the Philippines and local entrepreneurs’ products and services in the domestic and international market.

“Our entrepreneurs should go beyond the local market. Most economies today have been aggressive in providing the global market of products and services that provide unique and personalized experiences. The challenge for our exporters now is to expand their market reach by improving the quality of their products and services and explore innovative opportunities for their offerings,” said DTI Industry Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.

Majority of the participants of the said event are budding entrepreneurs that seek opportunities in the international market. Challenges and obstacles in doing business abroad were also discussed during the said event.

Among the opportunities being tapped today to penetrate mainstream markets is the increasing Filipino communities around the world. At present, in Singapore alone, there are about 180,000 overseas Filipino workers and migrants.

Also dubbed as the “One DTI Services”, the Negosyo, Konsyumer, at Iba Pa (NKATBP) is an initiative of the DTI Regional Operations Group that brings together all services provided by the DTI under one event. The event aims to heighten the awareness of the localities especially micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) and consumers, about the services offered by the Department.

IPG-led seminars will run through several regions from April to December 2016 under the NKATBP event.