Friday, February 1, 2013

APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC)

Setting growth as their benchmark in formulating recommendations, members of the Asia-Pacific business leaders who comprise the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) gathered in Manila on Wednesday to outline their work agenda for the year.

The body agreed to pursue and strengthen the region's economic growth and resilience at a time when the global economy is facing many short and long term challenges.

ABAC said it will place a stronger focus on investments, services trade and infrastructure development areas that APEC has not given as much attention in the past.

Under the theme of "Partnership, Resilience and Bridges to Growth," ABAC will develop recommendations on how APEC economies can deepen regional economic integration, promote infrastructure and sustainable development, foster small and micro enterprise (SME) development and entrepreneurship and promote the development and integration of financial market.

ABAC engaged APEC senior officials from 17 APEC economies in a dialogue to present their agenda and to identify areas for collaboration through the year.

Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) development remained high in ABAC's priorities in recognition of the fact that it is the backbone of economic growth in most APEC economies.

This year, ABAC will focus on solutions to SMMEs to overcome information, logistics and financial barriers. Increasing the participation of women in business with focus on promoting entrepreneurship and easing access to finance will be given priority.

" We have conscious work to enhance, facilitate and give the SMEs ideas to perform better with focus at two important issues; financing and use of information technology," Juan Frando Raffo, chair of SME working group said.

He said with the use of information technology, "it is a wonderful opportunity to be aboard, buy and sell product. It is also an excellent way to link in financing structure."

On the financial aspect, Anthony J. L. Nightingale said "the ASEAN economies have enough resources the only lacking is the mechanism to harness these financial resources."

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