2001 APEC SME Ministerial Meeting Opens in Shanghai

The Eighth Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (APEC SME) Ministerial Meeting opened at the International Convention Center in Shanghai Wednesday, attracting 198 participants, including ministers in charge of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and representatives from 21 APEC member economies, officials from the two observers of Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and Pacific Islands Forum as well as the APEC Secretariat.

In his opening speech, Li Rongrong, president of the meeting and minister in charge of China's State Economic and Trade Commission, said in line with the spirit of last year's informal APEC economic leaders'meeting, APEC foreign affairs-trade ministers’meeting and SME ministerial meeting, the member economies have done a lot of work to help SMEs build capacity, apply E-commerce, gain access to financial and capital markets and share common prosperity through diversification.

"Remarkable achievement have been made in these fields," Li said.

Noting that the world economy is undergoing great changes triggered by economic globalization and the emergence of New Economy, Li said SMEs are playing an increasingly significant role as a pillar and driving force of the world economy.

The current APEC SME ministerial meeting will focus on the three fields of advancing technological innovation, facilitating financing and improving environment for SME development under the theme of "New Century, New Challenges: Innovation and Environment for SME Development."

To set stage for SME executives to voice their views at APEC meetings, a face-to-face dialog between APEC SME ministers and executives will be held during the meeting, the first of its kind since the regional economic cooperation organization was founded in 1989.

"Through our joint efforts and dialog with the business circles, the links between government and SMEs will be further strengthened, and the common progress of the member economies will get a boost," Li said.

The APEC SME ministerial meeting will run through Thursday and a ministers' statement will be passed.

Xinhua News Agency 08/30/2001)

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