Mexico updated the Group on work underway to make the Trade4MSMEs platform, a portal dedicated to providing trade-related information for small businesses, available in French and Spanish. Based on users' feedback, Mexico said that additional guides will be provided to increase the site's usefulness, with training sessions made available to members.  Trade4MSMEs can be accessed here.

The Group agreed to create a taskforce to oversee the sustainability of the platform in the long term and designated Mexico as the coordinator of this taskforce. A key objective for the Group is developing partnerships with international organisations working on MSME issues.

Implementation of MSME package of recommendations

Russia and China reported on how they are implementing the MSME package of recommendations, highlighting the coverage of MSME-related issues in their Trade Policy Reviews in October and November 2021. Switzerland, Mexico and the European Union said they plan to add a section on MSMEs in their upcoming Trade Policy Reviews in 2022 and 2023, in line with the Group's recommendations.

Uruguay informed the Group that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the WTO for the automatic transmission of data to the WTO's Integrated Database, the main source of tariff and import data at the WTO, in line with the recommendation of keeping the database as up to date as possible. Uruguay said that its electronic transmission of data will commence in March.

Regarding MSMEs’ access to finance and cross-border payments, the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) presented key finding from its recent study entitled “The LEI: The Key to Unlocking Financial Inclusion in Developing Economies”.

Other presentations covered a project underway in Zimbabwe designed to help MSMEs use the legal entity identifier system to unlock access to trade finance and create new trading opportunities. Through this system, the identity of a legally registered organisation or business can be identified quickly and efficiently.

Presentations on issues facing MSMEs

Canada raised cyber readiness and the customs treatment of imports of low-value shipments and invited the Group to look into these areas. It also presented its new national standard “Baseline cyber security controls for small and medium organizations”.

The Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) presented its new Guide to help SPS regulators in developing countries use good regulatory practices to improve SPS measures and facilitate safe trade.

The Philippines gave an update on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs, which covers trade facilitation, trade financing, the digital economy, and capacity building. A review of the initiative was published in October 2021. Further work will focus on the promotion of green and competitive MSMEs in the digital age. The Philippines also reported on the APEC Global MSME Forum 2021, which discussed how to strengthen international cooperation to support MSMEs and their digitalization strategies.

The International Trade Centre presented its “Green to Compete” strategy aimed at leveraging trade for MSMEs and helping them seize opportunities in the green economy. More information can be found in its Green to Compete Brochure. UNCTAD presented its “Born Green via Digital Toolkit” developed under the G20's Italian presidency in collaboration with ITC, OECD, the World Bank and the WTO.

UNCTAD also gave a presentation on supporting MSMEs in achieving sustainability and reporting on Sustainable Development Goals.

TofaraOnline, a digital marketing firm from Zimbabwe and one of the winners of the Digital Champions Initiative, presented its winning project, which offers workshops on digital marketing, especially for women and young people, to increase local employment. It announced the launch of its first training activities under the project.

Meeting with the private sector

On the sidelines of the meeting, the Group presented the Trade4MSMEs platform to representatives of the private sector and sought their views on future topics for discussion. Topics raised include cyber readiness, support for adoption of the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR) of the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and sustainability standards. Some speakers noted that the proliferation of sustainability standards is impacting MSMEs negatively.




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