APEC Groups

Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG)


In the APEC region, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) account for around 90 percent of all businesses and employ as much as 60 percent of the work force. At present however they generate only around 30 percent of exports. The objective of the Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG) is therefore to encourage the development of SMEs and to build their capacity to engage in international trade.

First established in February 1995 as the Ad Hoc Policy Level Group on SMEs (PLGSME), the aim was to assist SMEs improve their competitiveness and to facilitate a more open trade and investment environment. Originally set up for two years, its term was extended in 1996 and again in 1998. In 2000, this group was renamed the SMEWG and granted permanent status. The SMEWG provides the foundation for other APEC groups to incorporate SME considerations into their mandates and activities. A meeting of Ministers responsible for SMEs has been held annually since 1994.

The SMEWG cooperates and collaborates with related organisations including APEC's Gender Focal Point Network (GFPN), the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Women's Leaders Network (WLN), and the Economic Committee (EC).

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