• .Free trade has been one of the main engines of development and growth worldwide.
  • The president declared that APEC should be the engine of the Asia Pacific Free Trade Area.
  • As part of the APEC Leaders' Meeting, he participated in the Business Advisory Council dialogue.

During his participation in the Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Dialogue, whose leaders’ meeting is being held here, President Enrique Peña Nieto said that free trade has been one of the main engines of development and growth worldwide.

In response to those who blame globalization and free trade for inequality and lack of growth, the Mexican president called on APEC economies to redouble efforts to strengthen their regional integration.

He said that the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Forum should be the engine of the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area.  Implementing the TPP would be a major step in that direction.

The Mexican president declared that the TPP has the potential to help expand the benefits of free trade to more companies and individuals.

During the APEC Leaders’ Meeting, President Enrique Peña Nieto agreed with US President Barack Obama and the rest of the leaders that it is important to give the next US administration time to assess the merits of the TTP.

The Mexican president declared that, “Now, more than ever, the challenge is to move towards inclusive economic integration as a means of prosperity for our societies”:

He explained that we are experiencing a complex situation characterized by moderate growth and discontent and mistrust towards free trade, since its benefits have not spread to the base of society.

According to the World Bank, between 1990 and 2010, free trade helped halve the global population living in extreme poverty.

Like most APEC economies, Mexico has benefited from trade liberalization, transforming its production profile.

He said that in 1985, 55 percent of Mexican exports were oil and 38 percent manufacturing. In 2015, the proportion of oil exports was just 6 percent, while manufacturing accounted for 89 percent.

MSMEs, ENGINES OF DEVELOPMENT

In the ABAC dialogue, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced the actions his government has overtaken to support the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) because, he said, they are important drivers of development.

He explained that MSMEs constitute 90 percent of the business fabric in the Asia-Pacific region, yet despite their specific importance, they hardly participate in regional or global value chains.

In Mexico, he said, there is a clear objective to facilitate the internationalization of its companies, especially SMEs. Accordingly, his Administration has implemented a genuine National Policy to Support Entrepreneurs and Micro and Small Businesses.

He said that the National Institute of Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneur Support Network (INADEM) have been created to advise, support, accompany and train those who wish to start a business or grow one they have already created.

INADEM, he explained, has assigned over $1.45 billion USD to support over 1.4 million entrepreneurs and over 1.2 million MSMEs.

He also announced that within the framework of APEC and ABAC, Mexico has supported work to support MSMEs and contribute to their internationalization.

“This year, together with Peru and Malaysia, we suggested that APEC should create a Compendium of Methodologies for the Internationalization of MSMEs, which would include practices, programs and measures for insertion into global markets, as well as success stories of companies that have already managed to do this,” he said.

He also noted, in the context of the Pacific Alliance ─comprising Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru─ that a Venture Capital Fund has begun operating─with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank─, which will fund and promote entrepreneurs with a high growth potential.

Globalize MSMEs TO DEMOCRATIZE THE BENEFITS OF TRADE

Later, during the Informal Dialogue between APEC Leaders and the Pacific Alliance (AP), in which the heads of state and government in both organizations agreed to highlight the importance of MSMEs to democratize the benefits of trade, President Enrique Peña Nieto  urged attendees to value the importance of creating synergies between the AP and APEC to globalize MSMEs.

“Collaboration and the exchange of best practices between the two mechanisms of integration we represent is important for putting these businesses at the center of policies to promote more inclusive growth in Asia-Pacific,” he said.

At the meeting, the president stated that the PA countries are promoting a common agenda comprising four lines of action:

First. Financing to enable SMEs to invest, grow and internationalize through the Venture Capital Fund.

Second. Actions to facilitate trade such as the project to integrate the Easy-Export systems, which will make it possible to develop an efficient, safe and affordable postal system.

Third. Technical assistance and capacity building through the Business Development Center Network, a public-private project that will support the incubation, development, formalization and growth of the most successful MSMEs in the region.

Quarter. Exchange of information and cooperation within the framework of the SME Regional Observatory, a space designed to strengthen the policy framework of entrepreneurship and provide relevant information for entrepreneurs and MSMEs.