Jakarta (ANTARA) - APEC customs administrations expressed commitment to redoubling efforts to facilitate export by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Asia-Pacific region, the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures noted in a statement received here, Thursday.

The focus of the APEC Workshop on Exporting Entrepreneurship held on Monday in Lima, Peru, was to unleash the full potential of MSMEs to participate in foreign trade and reap the benefits offered from it.

The workshop, organized by Peru’s customs administration, SUNAT, aimed to better equip customs administrations in the APEC region by increasing MSMEs' economic empowerment in international trade and ensuring that no one is left behind in the pursuit of progress and prosperity.

"Internationalization of MSMEs requires a multi-pronged approach, but customs agencies play a key role, as we are the gateway for these products to enter and leave an economy," Chair of the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures Blanca Barandiaran remarked.

"We need to make things easier and more accessible for entrepreneurs and small businesses in APEC, so that they can unlock all the opportunities and benefits offered by globalization," he remarked.

Customs administrations across APEC have been developing mechanisms and tools to simplify and facilitate access to trade via e-commerce and of low-value shipments.

This workshop dove deeper into these programs that bring export facilitation tools closer to MSMEs or businesses operated by individuals with untapped economic potential.

Addressing his counterparts at the workshop, Luis Enrique Vera Castillo, Peru’s National Superintendent of Customs and Tax Administration, highlighted Peru’s program that provides specialized and personalized technical assistance training for MSMEs in customs and tax issues to help them properly manage their businesses.

The program provides end-to-end support for MSMEs keen on exporting their products, including identifying the best means of payment, use of trademarks, as well as advising the packaging of the products that best fits its customers, among others.

Vera Castillo stressed the importance of comprehensive support for MSMEs to ensure successful and lasting internationalization of these businesses.

Representative from the Korea Customs Services, Chulhun Lee, cited the example of export promotion support centers that offer MSMEs free trade agreement training and consultations, acknowledgment of products with certifications, as well as providing low-interest loans and supporting MSMEs' entry into global retail malls.

Indonesia’s Director of Customs Facilities, Padmoyo Tri Wikanto, presented an export consultation program, which is available at all customs offices around the archipelago, providing assistance to MSMEs with export procedures, coordination with permit-issuing institutions, as well as guidance on product standards.

Kristie McKinney from the United States Customs and Border Protection highlighted the agency’s authorized economic operator program called the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT). The program aimed to ensure the security of international commerce coming into the United States. Being a member of the CTPAT program comes with the benefits of reduced examination rates and eligibility to participate in US government programs.

“In line with the APEC Peru 2024 theme of ‘Empower. Include. Grow,’ this workshop reflects our commitment to empower our MSMEs, at the same time lay the foundation to support the transition from informal to the formal economy,” Barandiaran concluded.

The workshop also emphasized the need for strong inter-agency collaboration and integration within an economy to ensure that MSMEs have complete support in exporting their products. This includes working with other agencies, such as trade, export promotion and small and medium enterprises, tourism, intellectual property, and even defense.

Concluding the workshop, Martha Elba Garamendi Espinoza, Peru’s Deputy National Superintendent of Customs, stressed the need to create a favorable business environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs to export through agile and innovative trade facilitation policies.

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Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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