Geneva- In line with DTI’s advocacy to bring small businesses in the front and center of global and regional trade. The Philippine Mission to the WTO (PMWTO) submitted two (2) documents on “Fostering the Participation of MSMEs in Regional and Global Markets”. The 1st submission in July provided the rationale for starting a conversation that includes Micro and Small enterprises, as well as highlighting the opportunities available to the WTO and its members to further strengthen linkages within the WTO discussions on aspects of MSMEs as well as existing linkages with other international organizations such as UNCTAD, ITC, and the World Bank Group. The 2nd submission provides a draft Ministerial statement for the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya from 15-18 December.

The WTO Ministerial Conference is held every two (2) years and the Philippines has been an advocate of the SME sector in these high-level meetings. At the 8th Ministerial Conference held in 2011, the Philippines has urged the WTO to prioritize small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the ongoing trade talks as they are most vulnerable to market uncertainties. Similarly at the 9th Ministerial Conference, the Bali Package, which the Philippines negotiated, was designed to streamline trade and benefit the Philippines’ SMEs, particularly exporters.

DTI Secretary Domingo’s participation at the recently held WTO Public Forum has stimulated the discussion on the growing importance of MSMEs in trade. Secretary Domingo was part of the WTO Public Forum Plenary Session on “Making Trade Work for Business” together with WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo, and private sector representatives. The debate particularly focused on the relationship between trade and business, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and agribusiness. The Philippines likewise organized a working session on “Fostering the Participation of MSMEs in Regional and Global Markets” which further provided clarity on how global collaboration, with the WTO at the forefront, would be a critical element in making trade work for ALL”

The Public Forum is the WTO’s largest annual outreach event, which provides a platform for participants to discuss the latest developments in world trade and to propose ways of enhancing the multilateral trading system. The week-long event regularly attracts over 1,500 representatives from civil society, academia, business, the media, governments, parliamentarians and inter-governmental organizations.