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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)


Background of APEC
 apec1 copy
Source from APEC Policy Support Unit
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is one of the leading economic forum in Asia Pacific which aims to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the region. SMEs account for over 97 percent of all enterprises and employ over half of the workforce across APEC economies. SMEs contribute significantly to economic growth, with SMEs' share of GDP ranging from 20 percent to 50 percent in the majority of APEC economies. However, they only account for 35 percent or less of the direct exports.

21 member economies collaborate closely to build a dynamic and harmonious Asia-Pacific community by championing free and open trade and investment, promoting and accelerating regional economic integration, encouraging economic and technical cooperation, enhancing human security, and facilitating a favourable and sustainable business environment. Our initiatives turn policy goals into concrete results and agreements into tangible benefits.

For more information on APEC please visit the following link
SME Corp. Malaysia’s Role in APEC
In accordance to our vision to develop progressive SMEs, the rich platform of APEC provides great opportunities for Malaysia to learn about good policies and best practices as well as to create synergies among the Malaysian SMEs with the other member economies. 

SME Corp. Malaysia is an active member and Malaysia’s focal point in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation SME Working Group. The working group meets twice a year to plan and work on initiatives that would benefit the SMEs across the 21 APEC member economies. Through our involvement in APEC, we are able to work across different working groups to push SMEs to the forefront by benchmarking our country to best practices, trade and investment trends, and policies of other developing and advanced economies. We also work closely with the working group to chart development plans and initiatives that will benefit SMEs not just in the country but also the economies collectively.

For more information on the APEC SME Working Group please visit the following link:
APEC 2015

As regional economic integration continues to take form and strengthen, APEC 2015 will orient policies and initiatives through the prism of its inclusive growth strategy. Integration, as such, will be defined and advanced not only for the benefit of economies but also for the people that drive economic growth. APEC 2015 is the promotion and advancement of inclusive growth in the Asia-Pacific region, hence the APEC 2015 theme, "Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World".

Under the theme “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World,” APEC 2015 will focus on the following key priorities:

• Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda

• Fostering Small and Medium Enterprises’ Participation in Regional and Global Markets

• Investing in Human Capital Development

• Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities

The Economic Contribution of SMEs

APEC 2015 economic                                                 Source from APEC Policy Support Unit


The economic contribution varies from each economy as indicated by the graph above.

For more detailed statistics on each member economy, the key indicators, and bilateral lingkages please visit the following link

APEC SME Working Group
SME Corp. Malaysia acts as a focal point in the APEC SME Working Group which convenes twice a year to share ideas and strategies on enhancing SME development. The SMEWG works towards the achievement of the Bogor Goals by fostering an enabling business environment for SMEs to grow and develop into export-ready firms.

Priority Areas

The following are the initiatives supporting each priority areas:

i) Building Management Capability, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation

APEC Start-up Accelerator Initiative
  • Launched in early 2013, this medium-term project has significantly contributed to the development of start-ups in the APEC regions. During its first year, the Start-Up Accelerator Leadership Summit and the first APEC Challenge were organized in Chinese Taipei in August 2013. The APEC Accelerator Network (AAN) Forum was established in March 2014 and has 44 members from 14 APEC economies.

Improving Natural Disaster Resilience of APEC SMEs to Facilitate Trade and Investment
  •  The goal of the project is to help SMEs better prepare for natural disasters through business continuity planning. Key deliverables of the project so far included the Guidebook on Promoting SMEs’ Business Continuity Planning (BCP), a 10-step model to help businesses develop their own business continuity plans. The Guidebook was translated into six languages, enabling accessibility for 40% of the world’s population.

Promoting Women Entrepreneurship and Green Business
  • In addition, SMEWG has implemented activities that promote women entrepreneurship such as the Workshop on the Dynamics of SME: Informality and Women Entrepreneurship, Workshop on Promotion of New Business by Women’s One Village One Product, and Train-the-Trainer Course for Women SME Service Exporters. Innovative and green business is another focus of the Working Group.

ii) Financing

Addressing Impediments for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Micro Enterprises (MEs) to Access Trade Finance
  • The dialogue exchanged information on impediments that SMEs and micro-enterprises encounter in accessing trade finance to better integrate into regional and international markets; and developed a set of recommendations, as a reference tool for APEC member economies and SMEWG, to tackle those impediments.
Identifying Government Policies that Promote Venture Capital Investment in APEC Economies
  • The project’s objective is to improve access venture capital financing for innovative APEC SMEs by building better understanding of issues and challenges facing APEC economies in growing their domestic and international venture capital presence.

iii) Business Environment, Market Access and Internationalization

Promoting Business Ethics for SMEs in the Medical Devices, Construction and Bio-Pharmaceutical Sectors
  • Ethical business practices are key to regulate the close interaction between the industry and healthcare professionals, often resulting in conflicts of interest. Moreover, unethical practices affect patient care and costs. Since 2011, the multi-year project on SME Business Ethics Capacity Building for SMEs in the Medical Devices, Construction and Bio-Pharmaceutical Sectors has developed codes of ethics for the three sectors and established one of the largest ethics mentor networks in the Asia-Pacific region.

APEC Business Ethics for SMEs Forum Series
  • APEC SMEWG is also implementing the APEC Business Ethics for SMEs Forum series, in which the first meeting was organized under theme “Building the Ethics Capacity of SMEs”. The project’s objectives were to facilitate regional cooperation that strengthens ethical business practices, with an emphasis on SMEs, by delivering capacity building and sharing best practices; providing a platform to address new and emerging business ethics challenges; and promoting on-going dialogue about the roles of all stakeholders in ensuring an ethical business environment.

Facilitating SMEs Integration into Global Value Chains
  • This workshop is the first in a series to promote viable and cost-effective solutions to help facilitate the integration of small and medium-sized companies into Global Value Chains (GVCs), particularly through leveraging SME relationships with multinational corporations.

APEC SME Ministerial Meeting
Under the umbrella theme of "Mainstreaming Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Global Economy", Phillippines hosted the 22nd APEC SME Ministerial Meeting in Iloilo City.

As 98.5 % of business establishments in Malaysia consists of the SMEs, it is very important for Malaysia to be actively involved at the international level to discuss on the development of SMEs with the rest of the APEC economies to ensure that we are in line and up to date with global developments in order to ensure the sustainability of our SMEs.

The APEC SME Ministerial Meeting discussed on three sub-themes which were:

i) Promoting Inclusive Growth through Sustainable and Resilient MSMEs

Ministers discussed the establishment of institutional support to enhance APEC MSME's participation in international trade and global value chains (GVCs). Developing economies in APEC are in the best venue to receive policy advice, technical cooperation from and among more developed economies in the region through capacity programs, best practice sharing and networking activities.

ii) Advancing Modernization and Standards and Conformance of MSMEs

Ministers addressed concerns in relation to levelling up the competitiveness of MSMEs. Supporting the modernization of MSMEs through the use of new technologies and innovative practices will help the sector comply with increasing market requirements and standards in the market which is critical as MSMEs move up the value chain.
iii) Removing Barriers to Facilitate MSMEs Entry to Markets

Minister's discussions centred on improving business environment and enhancing opportunities for MSMEs. MSMEs are accountable for a large share of revenue and employment in the Asia-Pacific region.

New action items for enhancing Asia-Pacific economic growth were detailed in a joint statement was issued by the Ministers from the 21 APEC member economies following the conclusion of the 2015 APEC Ministerial Meeting in Manila.

The Minister’s Joint Statement can be found at the following link

APEC Workshops
Malaysia was involved in the following initiatives this year:

40th APEC SMEWG Meeting held in Atlanta on 10-11 June 2015 and related programmes:

  1. APEC Industry Forum on Addressing Barriers to Trade in Health Care Products Helping SMEs Participate in Global Value Chain [CTI] ( 8 June 2015)

  2. APEC SME Business Matching and Internship Consortium for Global Value Chain Integration (8-9 June 2015)

  3. Supply Chain Capacity Building for Small & Medium Size Enterprises (SME): Supply Chain Management, Cold Chain Storage and Technical Regulations (8-9 June 2015)

  4. Facilitating Small & Medium Size Enterprises (SME) Trade through Better Understanding of Non-Tariff Measures in the Asia Pacific Region (1st Workshop) (8-9 June 2015)

41st APEC SMEWG Meeting held in Iloilo, Philippines on 23-24 Sept 2015 and related programmes:

  1. SME Finance Forum (22 Sept 2015)

  2. APEC Workshop on Facilitating SME Trade through Better Understanding of Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) in the Asia Pacific Region (21-22 Sept 2015)

Additional APEC Workshops

  1. Preparation of minit ceraian, budget, and logistic arrangements for the respective programmes

  2. APEC Summit and Training Workshop on Promoting SME Business Continuity Planning, Chinese Taipei (27-28 July 2015)

  3. 2015 APEC Business Ethics Forum, Manila Philippines (19-20 August 2015)

  4. APEC Harmonisation of Standards Project Workshop, Sydney, Australia (4-5 Nov 2015)

  5. APEC E-Commerce Forum, Jeju, Korea, (26-28 Nov 2015)
Publication on APEC
From time to time, the APEC Policy Support Unit releases several publications on trade and investment trends in the region. These publications can be helpful for SMEs to chart their strategy in venturing into new international markets by understanding the dynamics of the economic development in APEC.

The following are the latest APEC publication released

These are the reports/publications the PSU just published. For your reference please.

Growth Strategy

1. Assessment of the APEC Leaders’ Growth Strategy

The report discusses the nature of the APEC Leaders’ Growth Strategy endorsed in 2010. It also discusses the challenges involved in assessing the progress; existing links between this strategy and other APEC initiatives; and the work reported by APEC committees and sub-fora relating to the implementation of this strategy. The report includes specific sections on the five growth attributes identified in the Growth Strategy, namely: i) balanced; ii) inclusive; iii) sustainable (green); iv) innovative; and v) secure growth.

Trade, Investment & Economic Trends

2. APEC Economic Trends Analysis - Growth Softens as Challenges Intensify

Key messages from this issue:

• Growth is expected to soften in 2015 and recover in 2016.

• Growth prospects during the period 2015-2016 will be determined by three major factors: i) persistence of the downward trend of oil and non-oil commodity prices; ii) strength of China’s economy and stability of its markets; and

iii) normalization of US monetary policy and its attendant risks.

• Softening of growth prospects as challenges intensify require a concerted response. In 2015 and beyond, as economies rebalance economic growth towards strengthening domestic demand, they will need to consider implementing an appropriate mix of monetary and fiscal policies together with structural reforms to raise productivity and strengthen private consumption.

3. Key Trends and Developments Relating to Trade and Investment Measures and their Impact on the APEC Region - Trade, Inclusive Growth, and the Role of Policy

This report was presented at the recent APEC Ministerial Meeting in Manila. The first section discusses the linkages between trade performance and inclusive growth and examines the role of policy to promote inclusive growth. The second section reports trade and investment trends in the APEC region covering 2014 to the first half of 2015, and lists recent trade and investment policies implemented by members.

4. APEC’s Bogor Goals Dashboard 2015

The PSU compiled this dashboard using indicators gathered from respectable public sources for the period 2008-2014. The purpose is to provide easy-to-understand figures to track the advances in areas critical to promoting greater regional economic integration. The intention is to display a set of harmonized indicators laying out the evolution across time of certain aspects of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in quantitative terms, and to complement the Bogor Goals Progress Reports as part of the assessment to determine APEC’s progress towards these goals.

5. APEC in Charts 2015

An annual publication of the PSU, it depicts the region’s economic, trade, investment and policy-related performance through the use of charts.
Services, Global Value Chains and Supply Chain Finance

6. Report on APEC Work on Services and Baseline Indicators

This report evaluates APEC’s work on services and proposes baseline measures and relevant indicators for services trade in the region. It is prepared to support the development of the APEC Services Cooperation Framework, a new initiative on services which APEC Leaders just endorsed in Manila. A database of baseline indicators and measures collected by the PSU is also appended.

7. Services in Global Value Chains: Manufacturing-Related Services

The objective of the study is to collect firm-specific insights on the contribution of manufacturing related services in their supply/value chain operations using a case-study approach. It also analyzes how government policies affecting the production and trade of services – such as investment and investment-related policies, taxes and regulations – can have a significant implications on firm’s configuration, operation and location of value chains. During the study, case studies involving 22 firms based in 12 APEC economies were compiled. They cover different sectors ranging from automotive components and mining equipment to electrical appliances and watch. The summary report can be found in Chapter 1 while the individual case studies can be found in Chapter 2 to 21.

8. Guidebook on Trade and Supply Chain Finance

The Guidebook describes typical supply chains and which stages need financing and how they are financed. It discusses risks in the supply chains and various mitigation mechanisms whose availability and use depend on the presence of proper regulatory and legal infrastructures as well as the confidence of the market in them. The Guidebook also talks about financial instruments such as warehouse receipts financing, invoice finance, receivables finance, factoring, and forfaiting. Case studies of what had gone wrong in particular actual transactions are presented as examples and provide important insights on regulatory or institutional deficits that need to be bridged.

Regulatory Reform and SMEs

9. Assessing the APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR) and Advancing the APEC Structural Reform Agenda Beyond 2015

This report reviews the progress of ANSSR. It begins with a discussion of the drivers of growth, according to the framework of the debate on middle income trap. This is followed by the outcome of review of the information provided by economies in the ANSSR 2015 templates, a commentary on capacity building, and some notes on the manner of reporting of projects. The final section contains a series of suggestions for consideration in the design of the next phase of the APEC structural reform agenda.

10. Regulatory Reform: Case Studies on Improving the Business Environment for Small and Medium Enterprises

Through the use of case studies, this report draws lessons and suggests policy recommendations based on previous experiences related to the implementation of regulatory reforms to improve the business environment for SMEs. The four case studies focus on: (1) dedicated agencies to assist SMEs with growth, development, compliance and internationalization; (2) agencies and institutions that specialize in supporting SME finance; (3) regulatory tiering; and (4) SME-friendly Regulatory Impact Assessments.

For more information on the latest APEC PSU Publications please visit the following link:


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