The Philippines called on member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to address constraints of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) to fully participate in trade across the region.

During the 23rd APEC Automotive Dialogue in Cebu, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba said, “APEC has the opportunity to realize the integration of SMES in the global value chain, particularly in the automotive industry. SMEs, which comprise the majority of the auto industry players, can take advantage of the region’s very dense production network in auto components, parts, and electronics.”

Aldaba, who delivered the keynote address during the Automotive Dialogue, cited automotive industry trends in the region, such as the increasing importance of alternative energy vehicles, and the focus on the development of next-generation cars, or driverless cars of the future.

Industry data also shows that the cost of electronic parts as percentage of total vehicle cost is expected to rise to 40% in 2015 as compared to 20% in 2004.

“While ultimately. It is within the supply chain operators to improve internal efficiency, a facilitative market and trading environment, freer and open trade, transparent market information and supportive national policies aligned with regional cooperation goals will strengthen connectivity of supply chains,” she said.

Earlier this year, the Philippines started implementation of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy Program (CARS), which aims to develop the country as a regional automotive manufacturing hub.

“The Philippine chairmanship of the APEC Auto Dialogue this year is an opportunity for us to foster stronger linkages within the economies that will support as well our local initiatives to boost the local automotive industry, The basic challenge is for our SMEs to be internationally competitive” Aldaba said at the sidelines of the Auto Dialogue.

“For us to participate in global value chains is to address constraints on SME competitiveness and productivity; to think beyond simply exporting and to strengthen capacity for innovation. This is one area where regional cooperation could also play a role,” she explained.

Board of Investments Supervising Director Ma. Corazon H. Halili-Dichosa chaired this year’s dialogue.

The 23rd Automotive Dialogue adopted the theme “Integrating SMEs into the Automotive Global Value Chains.”

More than 130 participants representing government and the private sector from 12 member economies participated.

Agenda highlights include the Boracay Action Agenda for Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and “Strengthening SME Integration to Automotive GVCs in the Asia Pacific : Understanding Non-Tariff Measures.”

The APEC Automotive Dialogue is a venue for APEC member economy officials and senior industry representatives to collaborate in the formulation of strategies to bring to a higher level the integration and development of the automotive sector within the region. –