The Group welcomed two additional participants, Barbados and the United States, bringing the total number of members taking part in the initiative to 97. 

The approved work program will hinge on five main pillars:  promoting MSMEs' access to information; building capacity to promote  greater inclusion of MSMEs in international trade; providing policy guidance; implementing the December 2020 MSMEs package; and engagement with the private sector.

In particular, members supported increasing awareness of tools such as the Trade4MSMES platform, the Global Trade Helpdesk and ePing which aim to increase MSMEs access to information. 

The WTO Secretariat provided a brief demonstration on improvements that were made to the Regional trade agreements database which seeks to make the database more user friendly. Information on the call for papers issued by the Group on MSMEs provisions in RTAs can be found here.

The International Trade Centre (ITC) shared updates on its Global Trade Helpdesk. A new addition to the platform is the inclusion of information on logistics providers from IATA — ONE Source. ITC will continue to develop this portal and enhance the coverage of information on the portal.

A call was also made for members to share information about their national policies and to link the Global Trade Helpdesk to their national database. To this end, questionnaires will be distributed to members. The ITC also briefed the Group on its work with the Indian presidency of the G20 to assist integration of MSMEs into global value chains.

The Group invited the two winners of the Small Business Champions Competition 2022 to brief participants on the implementation of their projects. Mr Youssouf Daouda of “Accompagnements Valeurs Expertises Conseils” (A.V.E.C) in Benin reported on the progress made to strengthen MSME's capacity to decarbonise their production process. Mr Kelvin Ogodo, the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) in Tanzania reported on efforts to enhance green production in Tanzania.

Under the thematic discussions, the International Trade Centre (ITC) presented its SME Competitiveness Outlook for 2022 entitled “Connected services, competitive businesses”. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) presented their joint report The Climate Impact of SMEs, Evidence from the UK and South Africa which quantifies the economic and environmental footprint of SMEs.

DG meeting small business

The WTO Director General Ngozi-Okonjo Iweala held a meeting on March 10 with a number of small business representatives and associations that support small businesses to discuss the challenges that they face when they trade internationally and what the WTO can do to help in this regard. The seven small businesses, which operate in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and North America, also shared the challenges they face as they participate in digital trade and the digital economy.




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