Minister Li: Meeting 'A Great Success'

The Eighth Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Ministerial Meeting ended yesterday after issuing a joint statement stressing technological innovation, financing and human capacity building.

"It is of vital importance to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of SMEs in the face of an increasingly globalized and knowledge-based economy," the statement said.

Delegates attending the two-day ministerial meeting agreed that SMEs are facing unprecedented opportunities to develop in a broader range of fields.

But they are also confronted with new challenges and a more complicated market environment as the Asia-Pacific region experiences a slowdown in its economic growth.

The statement said technological innovation is a central theme crucial to the development of SMEs.

It also stressed the formidable force SMEs have in the new economy and urged their continuous growth through increased innovation capacity.

The meeting welcomed the Russian proposal for an International Co-operation Forum on Innovative Management Skills to enhance exchanges and share experiences in this respect.

The statement reported that delegates placed top priority on improvements in policy and personnel exchange relating to the venture capital system and regulatory models.

Li Rongrong, chair of the meeting and minister of the Chinese State Economic and Trade Commission, declared the meeting a great success.

Li said the participants developed ways for the business community to further take part in APEC activities and proposed many new projects.

APEC SME ministers strongly demanded greater contact and interaction with the business sector "for a timely understanding of the problems and difficulties in their growth to be achieved, so that tailor-made policies can be formulated."

The joint statement also reiterated the ministers' hope for dialogues to continue and further develop to better facilitate communication with the business community.

(China Daily 08/31/2001)

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