Singapore has assumed the chairmanship of the ASEAN SME Working Group (ASEAN SMEWG), taking over from Myanmar. The chairmanship lasts for a year, from June 2014 to June 2015. SPRING Singapore’s Deputy Chief Executive, Mr Ted Tan, is Singapore’s representative on the body.
This appointment comes at a crucial time as the ASEAN member states gear up for the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
In the press statement by SPRING, “The AEC envisages the transformation of ASEAN into a single market and production base; a highly competitive economic region; a region of equitable economic development; and a region fully integrated into the global economy.”
Delivering his keynote address at the ASEAN SMEWG Meeting in Manila, the Philippines, Mr Tan highlighted that the AEC presents unprecedented opportunities for SMEs in the region. He urged the ASEAN member states to promote the value of the AEC at the national level, tailoring it to the needs and aspirations of their SMEs.
“SMEs are critical to the ASEAN economy. Over the years, the ASEAN SMEWG has undertaken many notable projects to create a conducive environment for SMEs in ASEAN, by improving their access to financing and technology, strengthening their export capacity, aiding their innovation journeys, and helping them develop their human resources,” said Mr Tan. Describing ASEAN as a community of opportunities, he stressed the need for each member state to continue engaging and reaching out to its SMEs in educating them on these opportunities.
The statement added that Singapore SMEs need to continuously upgrade themselves in order to compete both regionally and globally, and reap the benefits of the AEC. Singapore’s SMEs are recommended to tap onto available government assistance to equip themselves with the necessary capabilities and capacity to harness the opportunities presented by the AEC.