‘Strengthen abilities of SMEs to take advantage of TPP’

National 1 minute, 56 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE capabilities of local small-medium enterprises (SMEs) need to be strengthen so that they can benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a senior government official said.

In an outreach programme held yesterday on the TPP and the ASEAN Economic Community, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFAT) Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi said that local SMEs must be ready in terms of product standards and have good financial standing once TPP kicks into full effect.

Brunei, along with TPP member countries Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States of America and Vietnam, are set to benefit from increase market access, trade and investment flows between each other.

However, SMEs generally have difficulties participating in international trade and will find export much more challenging compared to large companies.

Dato Lim said that TPP negotiations have been inclusive of SME growth as shown by a chapter on SMEs carried in the full text of the TPP.

“When we developed this agreement, SMEs were included in the discussions so there’s a lot of considerations on how SMEs can be included in the global value chain,” he said in a response to a question on the competitiveness of Bruneian SMEs.

Meanwhile, Sabrina Shofry, a representative of Darussalam Enterprise (DARe), a statutory body which supports local enterprises, said that it is finding ways to help local SMEs gain access into other markets.

She said that DARe is developing various business modules for different maturity levels of SMEs and businesses.

“For those who are just starting out, we are helping them write out business plans as this is expected from banks (when it comes to applying for financing),” she said.

As for established SMEs, she said that DARe would assist them by ensuring that the companies have sufficient corporate governance in place.

She said that modules are also being developed to help local companies identify market risks when venturing overseas.

Earlier this year, The World Bank said that Brunei’s participation in the TPP could help it gain a five per cent increase in gross domestic product by 2030.

In its January 2016 report entitled ‘Global Economic Prospects: Spillovers amid Weak Growth’, the Washington-based global lender said that Brunei is the third largest gainer behind Vietnam and Malaysia.

The Brunei Times