The Philippines will launch Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 on Monday (December 1) to buoy up local businesses to explore and initiate opportunities based on lined up activities for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) next year.

“While the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has lined up several activities as the country chairs APEC in 2015 and hosts the 23rd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, we aim to spur greater private sector participation and generate new prospects for local and foreign businesses to flourish,” Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said.

The launch will be attended by the local business community. It will be held at Green Sun in Makati City.

The Philippine hosting of the APEC intends to inspire greater confidence that the APEC member-economies can indeed build a truly vibrant and inclusive future for all peoples as they pursue the Bogor Goals and work to realize the vision laid out by the country.

Domingo noted that next year will be a perfect opportunity for local business to seize and further help in contributing to the Philippines’ growing economy.

“In the country’s hosting next year, we seek to underscore the significance of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country’s economy, and their role and integration in global supply chains,” Domingo said.

Domingo further said that SMEs play an essential role in driving economic growth and generating employment in the local communities. They contribute and enrich growth opportunities in these communities that are being developed as hubs of trade and investments in various regions of the country.

The country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) account for 99 percent of the businesses, and contribute 65 percent of the jobs generated by all types of business establishments.

Domingo pointed out that as the backbone of the country’s economy, MSMEs are developed by the government to help them become more competitive not just regionally but also globally.

“The DTI has continuously implemented several programs for these enterprises to grow in an enabling business environment, enjoy access to finance, expand market access, and improve efficiency and productivity,” Domingo said.

He noted that to get the most of these government interventions, SMEs must also be abreast with regional economic forums that facilitate economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment for them to take full advantage of undertakings geared towards SME development and integration to global supply chains.

“We strongly believe that regional economic integration should work towards empowering the Filipino people and achieving inclusive growth in the country. Thus, we will work with other APEC member economies towards this goal and complement it with frameworks and policies that will benefit all in the Asia-Pacific region,” Domingo said. (END)