les entreprises, le commerce et l'omc

Presentation of the WTO MSME Group's package of recommendations and discussion with the private sector

Geneva, WTO Headquarters

MSMEs are a fundamental part of every economy, representing 95% of businesses globally and almost two thirds of world employment. However, MSMEs lag behind large firms when it comes to international trade and they are the most vulnerable during times of crisis. MSME trade can support businesses by smoothing demand and bring economic development through new opportunities and connections to businesses. With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to devastate many small businesses, it is more important than ever to support this critical component of the economy.

Created in December 2017 at the 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, the WTO informal working group on MSMEs comprises 90 members of all regions and levels of development whose objective is to facilitate MSMEs' participation in international trade. The package put forward by the Informal Working Group on MSMEs aims to enhance MSME access to market and regulatory information, promote the inclusion of MSME-related dimensions in trade rulemaking, encourage effective application of trade facilitation measures and full implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, and increase MSME access to finance.

The Group continues to interact closely with the private sector to identify potential issues and solutions to promote MSME participation in international trade. This webinar will present the Informal Working Group on MSMEs' package of recommendations and declarations followed by a discussion with all webinar participants to explore topics that could be considered by the Group.


Moderated by H.E. Mr. José Luis Cancela (Uruguay), Coordinator of the WTO MSME Group

Webcast recording

13.00 — 13.20

Opening remarks

  • H.E. Ms. Victoria Francolino, Vice-Minister of International Economic Affairs, Uruguay
  • Yi Xiaozhun, Deputy Director General, WTO
  • John W.H. Denton AO, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce
  • Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre

13.20 — 14.00

Presentation of the MSME Package, the Global Trade Helpdesk and MSME web platform

14.00 — 15.00

Discussion with the private sector

The discussion will be framed within three important challenges encountered by MSMEs that the Group has identified, followed by an open-ended discussion on any other issues the Group should be aware of.

  1. Trade facilitation: The Group’s package calls for the full implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, recommends engagement with MSMEs when designing trade facilitation regulatory measures, encourages the exchange of TFA implementation experiences involving MSMEs, and encourages WTO Members to identify opportunities to adopt digital solutions to speed up customs procedures.

    What trade facilitation solutions could the Group consider to support MSMEs?

  2. Access to finance & Cross-border payments: The Group's package calls on WTO Members to exchange best practices and share information on technical assistance in relevant fora with a view to identifying concrete measures to address issues around MSME access to financial solutions. The Group also invites the WTO Secretariat to organize, with the support of relevant international organizations, information sessions on trade-related aspects of MSMEs' access to finance and crossborder payments.

    What topics could the Group explore to support MSMEs' access to finance and cross-border payment solutions?

  3. Digitalization: The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of the digital economy for continuity of business operations and company resilience, especially for MSMEs.

    How can the Group support digitalization to promote MSMEs' participation in international trade?

  4. Other issues: What other issues or solutions could the Group consider to support MSMEs ininternational trade?



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