Senior Officials of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will meet counterparts from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies at various meetings of the Third APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM3) set for August 22 to September 6 in Cebu City.

APEC SOM3 will focus on the implementation of the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in APEC.

The Boracay Action Agenda, a Philippine-led initiative which aims to encourage the participation of MSMEs in global and regional trade, received broad support from the 21 APEC member economies during the two-day APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting held last May in Boracay, Aklan.

“Our work is far from over. We need to be in concert with APEC member economies in carrying out the Agenda’s objectives of globalizing MSMEs while pursuing the expansion of our partnerships and programs with industry stakeholders on the local front,” Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo said.

The Boracay Action Agenda aims to foster the growth of MSMEs through capacity building programs, facilitating the participation of MSMEs in global value chains (GVCs), and providing greater opportunities for MSMEs.

Rodolfo added that emphasis will be placed on the key initiatives under the priority areas for cooperation and action identified by trade ministers.

This includes facilitating the access of MSMEs to free trade agreements (FTAs)/regional trade agreement (RTAs), streamlining customs-related rules and regulation, providing timely and accurate information on export and import procedures and requirements, widening financing options and infrastructure, utilizing e-commerce as a platform to internationalize MSMEs, and strengthening institutional support to grow dynamic and global MSMEs.

During the APEC meetings, the Philippines will propose possible work streams to guide member economies in implementing the Boracay Action Agenda and recommend indicators to track the progress or successes of the region and each member economy in meeting their assigned responsibilities.

“Our objective is to establish policies and procedures in the APEC region that will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of current and future initiatives for MSMEs,” Rodolfo said.

Various meetings in APEC Cebu will also discuss efforts to build the competitiveness of the services sector, explore digital trade as a vehicle towards inclusive growth, and finalize the APEC Trade Repository (APECTR), a web portal for transparency and trade facilitation.

More than 1,000 participants from 21 APEC economies, international organization, business sector and academe are expected to attend the two-week long meetings in Cebu. –