Regional trade ministers gathering in Boracay for APEC should make improving the access of small companies to compete in global markets a top priority. In a survey conducted by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), 52 percent of respondents rated the facilitation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in global value chains as a top 5 priority for APEC, followed by the achievements of the Bogor Goals and the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP); services sector reforms and liberalization; the design of trade policy in response to global value chains; and how economies can move to upgrade their participation in global value chains.
‘The emphasis on the role of global value chains reflects the changing nature of how international trade takes place,” said Mr. Eduardo Pedrosa, Secretary General of the PECC. “Being an effective exporter also requires being an efficient importer, having high barriers to trade is the worst thing an economy can do if it wants to benefit from trade. Parts move from one place to another before final assembly and reaching the consumer - small trade costs are magnified by the number of times the parts move.”
While trade growth is expected to remain below levels before the global financial crisis, the policy community does expect growth to be stronger over the next 5 years. Export grew by 4.6 percent in 2013 and slightly slowed to 4.5 percent in 2014 while expectations for 2016 through 2017 are at 5.2 percent.
More policy reforms are needed to help especially small companies enter the global market directly and enter global values chains. This includes simplifying compliance with the rules of origin.
About 40 media representatives attended the press briefing that consisted of a presentation by PECC Secretary General Eduardo Pedrosa on the survey results followed by a Q&A session where Mr. Pedrosa was joined by Ambassador Antonio Basiliio, Chair of Philippine committee for PECC/ Head of Delegation for APEC 2015 MRT; and Ambassador Tan Guoqiang, Chair of Chinese committee for PECC. Over 300 opinion leaders from the region's government, business, and research/ media sectors contributed to the survey conducted during 7 to 28 April 2015.
Download the full report: State of Trade in the Region 2015
Recording of the press briefing (YouTube)