MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES (MSMES)
Ambassador José Luís Cancela (Uruguay), the Coordinator of the Group, invited members with Trade Policy Reviews scheduled for 2022 and 2023 to include MSME-related information in line with the package of recommendations. Members also discussed the importance of providing assistance to those who have not yet embarked on implementing the recommendations. Mexico reported to the group on how MSME-related issues were covered in its Trade Policy Review in October.
Uruguay and the European Union updated the Group on their work on implementing the recommendation to provide regular updates for the WTO Integrated Database (IDB), the WTO's main source of tariff and trade-related information. Keeping the IDB fully up to date allows MSMEs to have access to reliable and comprehensive information on tariffs and other market access data.
On future work, members suggested organising dedicated discussions on topics of importance for MSMEs seeking to play a bigger part in world trade. These topics include regional trade agreements, cross-border payments and trade facilitation. Information-sharing sessions and exchange of good practices were also suggested. Additional themes for future work include trade digitalization, applying gender perspectives to MSME trade, green trade, innovation and rural MSMEs. Members also highlighted the importance of engaging with external stakeholders to further support the work of the Group.
The Group heard updates on the Trade4MSME platform. Mexico informed the Group that two workshops on this topic will be held in Mexico and the Dominican Republic in October and November. Mexico invited members of the Group to submit requests to hold national workshops to further spread information about the platform. Policy guides have been added to the platform while work will continue on improving its functionality, Mexico added.
The Group heard WTO Secretariat briefings on MSME-related discussions in other WTO bodies. These included an overview of the MSME thematic session organized in July 2022 on the side-lines of the Technical Barriers to Trade Committee. More information on the session can be found here.
The Secretariat also updated the group on the implementation of the 2019 Decision on the WTO Integrated Database (IDB), in particular the automatic transmission of tariff and import data and the most recent agreements concluded with members. The Secretariat also provided a review of the effects of regional trade agreements on MSMEs.
Additional presentations were provided by experts on trade facilitation, cross-border payments, and payment interoperability and low value shipments, among other topics.
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