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Annex C - Other APEC Business Facilitation Activities

Making it Easier for Small and Medium Business

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are important drivers of economic growth and a major source of employment in the APEC region.  In 2005 and 2006, APEC Leaders and Ministers recognised the critical economic role the sector plays, and highlighted the impact that a favourable business environment has on private sector success, especially for micro, small and medium enterprises.  To improve the business environment, APEC’s SME Working Group (SMEWG) is undertaking work to promote regulatory best-practice among member economies, including through their support for a Private Sector Development Agenda (PSDA).  

As called for by Leaders in 2005, the PSDA focuses on several core themes that form the basis of a multi-year Private Sector Development workplan.  The first priority issues to be addressed are ‘Starting a Business’ (2007), ‘Obtaining Licences’ (2008) and ‘Access to Capital’ (2009). The centrepiece of PSDA activity each year is a workshop on one of these themes during the annual SME Ministerial Meeting. Over the long-term, the PSDA will help reduce the costs of doing business in APEC, promote economic development within APEC economies, and increase awareness among APEC members of concepts and applications related to private sector development.

A Secure Trading Environment

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, APEC Leaders identified enhanced security for trade and people movement as a major priority. The Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Initiative was launched in 2002 to develop APEC activities to respond to this new reality.  Priorities for the STAR Initiative include: accelerating efforts to develop closer and more effective public-private partnerships to address security issues affecting trade and people movement; developing more effective screening techniques for people and cargo for security before transit; increasing security on ships and aircraft while en route; making business supply chains more secure; enhancing security in airports and seaports; and harmonising standards and practices among APEC economies.

Annual STAR Conferences are the primary vehicle for progressing this agenda.  They provide an important platform for dialogue between the public and private sectors, which enables the development of recommendations for APEC Ministers and Leaders on new ways to enhance the secure movement of people and trade within the APEC region. They are also a significant contributor to APEC’s trade facilitation agenda as they seek to ensure that business can be conducted among APEC economies securely as well as efficiently.

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