Jakarta (ANTARA) - Ministers, helming small and medium enterprise (SME) policy in APEC, convened in Concepcion to discuss digitization, internationalization, and financing access for small businesses and their potential to empower and integrate women into the global economy.

At the meeting held this week, APEC ministers committed to achieving inclusion through digital transformation, according to a written statement issued by the APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group and received here on Saturday.

According to Chile’s Economy, Development, and Tourism Minister Juan Andrés Fontaine, small- and medium-sized businesses are the mainstay of commercial exchange in the Asia-Pacific.

Fontaine described the occasion as an opportunity to discuss the best ways to deal with the challenges faced by SMEs and to uncover new initiatives to promote their development.

"As economies become closer and more connected to one another owing to internationalization and the digital world, many new opportunities as well as challenges will arise," Fontaine affirmed.

"When faced with such challenges and opportunities, small- and medium-sized enterprises will look for answers from us," he added.

Evan Holley, chair of the APEC SME Working Group, stated that some 97 percent of businesses throughout APEC are micro-, small-, or medium-sized enterprises.

"Hence, these firms, this business sector, must be part of the economic cooperation process," Holley remarked.

Hence, he stated that APEC economies should continue to pursue inclusive and sustainable growth through outcomes to globalize small businesses and empower women by leveraging technology.

The meetings of the SME Working Group and ministers were the culmination of APEC SME Week held in Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city. Related news: APEC endeavors to assist small businesses in global expansion

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Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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