MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES (MSMES)
Mexico provided an update on the development of the platform, outlining several new elements, such as user guides for MSMEs and policy makers, which will be available when the platform is launched at MC12.
The Working Group intends to present the platform to WTO members during the Ministerial Conference and to the business community on 2 December on the margins of the Business Forum.
Ambassador José Luís Cancela (Uruguay), the coordinator of the group, invited members to use the short time ahead of MC12 to build support for the group's Declaration, which was finalised and announced at the group's meeting in September.
He said: “I count on you all to be fervent advocates of the MSME cause in the coming two weeks to try and bring onboard further members.”
The group also intends to announce the winners of the “Digital Champions for Small Business” initiative at a virtual side event during MC12. This initiative, launched by the Working Group in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Trade Centre, is aimed at helping small businesses go digital and increase their participation in international trade.
Briefing by WIPO
Mr Marco Aleman, Assistant Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), outlined the activities carried out by WIPO to help MSMEs benefit from the global intellectual property system. He highlighted the establishment of the “IP for Business Unit”, which provides assistance to WIPO members states and various stakeholders — including MSMEs — in areas such as IP commercialisation, arbitration and mediation services.
Noting that the percentage of MSMEs that utilise the IP system and understand its benefits is limited worldwide, Mr Aleman underlined that the aim of this unit is to help small companies use the IP system to become more competitive.
Implementation of MSME package of recommendations
The WTO Secretariat gave a presentation on the work carried out to create a database of MSME-related information in the WTO's Trade Policy Reviews. This Database, which can be accessed via the WTO website, has been developed in response to the six recommendations and declarations adopted by the group in 2020. The database brings together information that members voluntarily provide during their WTO Trade Policy Reviews on policies related to MSMEs as a means of enhancing transparency and disseminating good practices.
Russia and China reported to the group on how MSME-related issues were covered in their Trade Policy Reviews in October and November.
Uruguay updated the group on work under way to implement the recommendation regarding implementation of the 2019 Decision on the WTO Integrated Database (IDB). The database is the WTO's official source of tariff and trade-related information.