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Vietnam Today

PM wants APEC to support SMEs

Released at: 21:34, 15/09/2017 APEC Viet Nam 2017

PM wants APEC to support SMEs

Photo: VGP

APEC members should accelerate efforts to help SMEs take advantage of opportunities from digital advances, PM tells APEC meeting on September 15.

by Quang Huy

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has called on APEC members to accelerate efforts to enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of new trade opportunities created by digital advances in the region.

He asked them to introduce collaborative measures to improve competitiveness and innovation among small businesses.

“The expectation and hope of Vietnam is to cooperate with APEC economies to facilitate small business innovation and access to global markets, to stride forward in the digital age,” the Prime Minister told the APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM) in Ho Chi Minh City on September 15.

SMEs account for 97 per cent of all businesses and half of employment among APEC economies, he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by APEC SMEMM. “The birth of new technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, and 3D printing are changing mindsets as well as ways of creating wealth and improving the lives of people worldwide,” according to the statement. “SMEs’ technological levels, capital, and management skills are still limited. These firms are very vulnerable, but they are also dynamic and adaptable.” Ministers are finalizing plans to help small businesses access markets and cross-border production and supply chains in the region.

They are also detailing steps to enhance small enterprises’ access to technology, management training, and business matching, while strengthening entrepreneurship, startup growth, and business ethics.

This is the second time Vietnam has hosted the APEC summit. Considered one of the most important events for the country this year, APEC 2017 is a year-long event held in multiple cities and provinces with about 200 activities, including eight ministerial-level conferences. It will culminate with the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Da Nang in November.

Despite having several government policies in support of SMEs, Vietnam has never had a specific law. The Law on Support for SMEs, which was approved by the National Assembly, will take effect from January 1.

The law is set to create an ecosystem for SMEs to thrive. “It will facilitate cooperation among enterprises with different industries and facilitate their joining value chains,” Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong said. “This will contribute to improving the quality of growth and changing the country’s economic growth model.”

The reason for the recent focus on SMEs, according to economist Mr. Vo Tri Thanh, is the relative absence of medium-sized enterprises in Vietnam, which limit the diffusion of foreign direct investment (FDI) and technology. Also, “Vietnam is interested in developing support industries,” he added, which rely on medium-sized enterprises. “It’s unadvisable to focus on large State-owned enterprises as their monopoly power harms the business environment,” Mr. Thanh believes.

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