MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is pushing for the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for the country to achieve sustained long-term economic growth.
Aside from education and infrastructure, the DTI considers the development of SMEs as another contributor to the country’s long-term economic growth.
“We recognize how important SMEs are, that is why we came up with programs like Shared Services Facilities (SSF), SME Roving Academy, (and) DBFTA (Doing Business in Free Trade Areas),” Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said.
The SSF program involves providing equipment to help improve the quality of products of micro (M)SMEs.
Under the SME Roving Academy, the DTI provides training to MSMEs, while business information sessions that provide entrepreneurs with knowledge on how to navigate and profit from the country’s free trade agreements are conducted by the department through the DBFTA.
As the country holds the chairmanship of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) next year, Domingo said the country would focus on the SME agenda.
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“We feel the SME agenda is very important. We are pushing to simplify the trade rules to make SME’s benefit from global trade. That means simplifying application forms and custom procedures,” he said.
Since 2011, the DTI has been pushing this agenda in meetings of APEC, World Trade Organization and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
For his part, Trade Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo, Jr. said the DTI is putting emphasis on SMEs given the sector’s role in allowing the country to achieve inclusive growth.
Of the almost 945,000 registered business enterprises in the country in 2012, 99.6 percent are MSMEs.
In the same year, SMEs accounted for almost five million or roughly 61 percent of the country’s total employment.
In the Asean, SMEs are also considered a key contributor to economic growth as the sector accounts for 96 percent of all enterprises, contributing at last 30 percent of the gross domestic product, at least 50 percent of domestic employment and 19 percent of exports.