Prioritise MSME development and free trade: ABAC

National 2 minutes, 42 seconds


THE APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) has called on member countries’ governments, including Brunei, to remain committed in realising the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

As part of the ABAC report to address current challenges facing the region, the FTAAP was seen as the best way forward to continue to reduce barriers to trade and investment, and to enable goods, services and capital to flow freely among APEC economics.

The ABAC report carrying the theme of “Quality Growth and Human Development” was presented yesterday to Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Awang Lim Jock Seng by ABAC Brunei members Hafimi Abdul Haadii and Soon Loo.

In a press statement, ABAC said that the report sets out practical steps for APEC economies to address current challenges facing the region and called for consolidating progress towards the FTAAP.

It also called for facilitating development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) through access to global markets and new technology as a priority area.

The report also believed APEC members should prioritise promoting economic growth, diversification and sustainability while also strengthening the rule of law and socio-economic sustainability.

ABAC also pledged continued support to APEC in attaining trade and investment liberalisation through calling for structural economic reform which promotes good governance and sound regulation that incentivises the growth of services and innovation in the region aimed at helping economies in the region achieve quality growth and improve social stability.

Meanwhile, ABAC Brunei also laud government’s effort and initiative in establishing Darussalam Enterprise to support MSMEs development that are very much aligned with ABAC’s goals to expand their role in regional trade and investment.

ABAC Brunei said that this was important to achieve quality growth and reinforce the benefits of globalisation, particularly as MSMEs are the drivers of entrepreneurship and employment.

ABAC noted that closing the connectivity gap remains one of the critical challenges in achieving sound quality growth, as envisioned in the APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015-2025. In this, ABAC calls on governments to strengthen efforts to develop digital infrastructures that will make the region more efficient, competitive and connected.

ABAC Brunei recommends for Brunei to take best practices from APEC economies as part of Brunei’s strategy to develop and implement a dynamic digital infrastructure.

In its statement, the advisory body also urges governments to avoid over-regulation and promote regulatory quality to enhance resilience and inclusiveness in the region to ensure APEC remains a showcase of best practice in the rule of law and regulatory quality.

ABAC Brunei encourages the government to continue breaking the barriers of trade through efforts to enhance the business ecosystem using the World Bank Ease of Doing Business as a benchmark.

Additionally, ABAC also raises the critical role of finance in sustaining growth and avoiding the middle-income trap and urge governments to encourage legal, policy and institutional reforms and promote financing of infrastructure projects and regional financial integration.

ABAC Brunei proposed to support in championing the Islamic Infrastructure Investment Platform (IP3) in facilitating the mobilisation of capital in Islamic institutions to fund infrastructure across the region following the 2015 APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting hosted by the Philippines in Cebu.

The Brunei Times