BIG SKY, Montana, the United States, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) wrapped up its annual forum attended by Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) ministers in Big Sky, Montana on Saturday with consorted commitment for resolving the major barriers to trade for small businesses across the region.
The senior officials from 21 member economies also unanimously endorsed a set of principles regarding ethical codes of conduct for medical devices sector, Francisco Sanchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and chairman of the SME Ministerial, said at the end of the nine day session.
"Yesterday, APEC Trade and SME ministers came together for the first time in APEC' s history to identify nine major barriers to trade for small and medium-sized enterprises," Sanchez said. "The SME Ministers have instructed their staffs to identify practical solutions for four of these regional trade impediments."
Representatives of more than 50 SMEs from APEC economies joined several dozen SMEs from Montana and across the United States to provide insight and ideas for discussions. This represented the most private sector participation by SMEs in APEC history, according to Sanchez.
The ministers agreed to embrace business ethics to enhance SMEs' competitiveness, promote SMEs' use of new technologies to reduce the costs of doing business, identify policies to support green SMEs and encourage green, innovative and competitive policies to create an entrepreneurial society.
The ministers also endorsed the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Principles, which will be incorporated in voluntary industry ethical codes for the medical devices sector in the region. This has led to the work on principles for the construction and bio-pharmaceutical sectors.
The ministers agreed to explore the use of new technologies -- including cloud computing -- to increase efficiency and reduce SMEs' costs of doing business, aiming at holding in-depth discussions with SMEs at the next APEC SME Working Group meeting, November 3-4, in Bangkok, Thailand.
The senior officials from APEC member economies will submit concrete and pragmatic activities to APEC leaders at their November meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. The measures will contain combating SME financing; lack of capacity for SME to internationalize; the need for an open and transparent business environment; and high transportation and related costs.
The APEC SME Ministerial is held annually by the APEC host economy in a bid to encourage the development of small and medium enterprises and to build their capacity to engage in international trade.
Russia will host the next SME Ministerial in Vladivostok in 2012.