Apec taps into e-commerce with new online biz-to-biz platform

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the advances in mobile technology and e-commerce would open a huge range of market opportunities for micro-enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region.

DTI secretary Ramon M. Lopez

DTI secretary Ramon M. Lopez

Lopez made the statement as he took part in the unveiling of the Apec Micro, Small and Medium Size Marketplace in Singapore on Monday, Sept. 25, and endorsed by the Apec SME ministers.

The “Apec Marketplace’ is a new business-to-business platform for enabling cross-border trade among under-represented but economically vital micro, small, and medium enterprises in the Asia-Pacific.

The platform helps to connect them with compatible production and supply chain partners. It also details tariffs and trade regulations as well as provides a portal to support services to help small businesses in the region build their trading operations.

“The Apec Marketplace will make it easier for small businesses to trade and, in the process, boost their competitiveness and growth capacity in the region,” said Lopez.

“The benefits of wider participation in trade could be very significant for Apec economies and our people’s livelihoods,” he added.

The platform caters to small firms that account for nearly all businesses and the majority of employment in the Apec region, and have substantial room for export growth.

They range from handicraft suppliers in Luzon, to auto and machinery parts producers in Ohio, Nagoya and Ho Chi Minh City, to coffee growers and processors in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Apec economies aim to grow the Apec Marketplace’s directory of small businesses with export potential and, in turn, open up market opportunities for these firms in the Asia-Pacific through business matching with companies seeking value-adding goods and services suppliers.

It is part of Apec’s implementation of the Iloilo Initiative for growing global micro, small and medium enterprises, endorsed by the region’s SME Ministers there in 2015 and supported by parallel efforts underway to unlock small business trade. – Edu Lopez

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