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## APEC Ministers Renew Commitments to Empower Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises

![SMEMM Chair_SOM3](—2023-08-22t060122-077.tmb-w780.png?sfvrsn=54e156f0_1)

APEC ministers recently gathered in Seattle to reaffirm their dedication to promoting and empowering micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Recognizing the importance of these businesses, especially in fast-growing technology sectors, as well as the blue and green sectors that are driving global growth, the ministers committed to supporting their growth and resilience.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought uncertainties and challenges for MSMEs, resulting in frustration and anxiety about the future. The long-term impact of the pandemic, coupled with the difficulty of competing with larger companies in adopting digital technologies, has created a sense of unease among MSMEs. To address this, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business conducted a study that highlighted the concerns of MSMEs.

In response to these findings, the United States Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Marisa Lago, emphasized the need for governments to maintain interconnectedness with small businesses. This would allow governments to adapt their services to meet the evolving needs of MSMEs. Under Secretary Lago stressed the importance of creating an enabling environment that promotes innovation and inclusivity for businesses of all sizes.

During the meeting, APEC invited small business entrepreneurs to share their experiences and challenges in accessing global value chains, expanding their markets through e-commerce and digital tools, and transitioning towards sustainable practices. Entrepreneurs called for increased government support in terms of access to markets and capacity building for cross-border trade.

To address these concerns, APEC ministers pledged their commitment to supporting MSMEs. They recognized the potential of MSMEs, particularly those owned or led by women, to contribute to green transitions and discussed measures to enhance their competitiveness through the adoption of green practices and policies. Ministers emphasized the importance of digital tools, technologies, and skills in enabling MSMEs to participate in global value chains, cross-border e-commerce, and digital trade.

ABAC representative Monica Whaley shared recommendations for the economic success of MSMEs, urging APEC member economies to reassess existing programs and create new ones that cater to the specific needs and stages of development of MSMEs. Collaboration and engagement with entrepreneurs and small business owners were identified as critical for effective policy targeting and implementation.

In conclusion, Under Secretary Lago highlighted the potential for MSMEs, including those owned by individuals from untapped economic groups such as women, Indigenous Peoples, and people with disabilities, to contribute to economic growth. She emphasized the importance of forging pathways to growth for all MSMEs and creating an inclusive future for all.

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Overall, the AI legalese decoder is a valuable tool for MSMEs, providing them with the legal support they need to thrive in a complex business environment. By simplifying legal language, assisting with contract drafting, and offering personalized guidance, the software helps MSMEs overcome legal hurdles and focus on their core business activities.

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