Small business group appoints new coordinator, discusses digitalisation, finance and standards
The Informal Working Group on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) on 26 April discussed the benefits of digitalisation for small business, the role of intellectual property rights in facilitating small business access to finance, and how MSMEs deal with sustainability standards. The Group appointed Ambassador Matthew Wilson of Barbados as its new coordinator.
Singapore shared its experience with facilitating digital trade through its digital economy agreements, including the adoption of the UNCITRAL Model Laws on E-commerce and Electronic Transferable Records.
The United Kingdom drew attention to its proposal on trade digitalisation under the e-commerce negotiations. The proposal highlights the economic benefits of shifting to paperless trade, which can result in cost cutting, increased productivity and greater business opportunities.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) presented its latest report on intangible assets and the value generated when the inventions of small businesses are protected by IP rights. This can help to address the finance gap faced by many small businesses.
The WIPO report — entitled “WIPO and Intangible Asset Finance: Moving intangible asset finance from the margins to the mainstream” is available here.
The International Trade Centre (ITC) presented its Standards Map, a database of sustainability standards, and highlighted the technical and financial constraints faced by small businesses as they try to comply with sustainability standards. The ITC also updated the Group on the G20’s work on MSMEs’ access to information, finance and markets.
The Group appointed Ambassador Matthew Wilson of Barbados as its new coordinator. The outgoing coordinator, Ambassador José Luís Cancela (Uruguay), drew attention to the achievements of the Group, particularly the 2020 package of recommendations aimed at helping small businesses trade internationally.
He also highlighted the establishment of databases of MSME provisions in trade agreements and in trade policy reviews and the Trade4MSMEs platform, which provides a gateway to MSME trade information. “This is an impressive number of deliverables and I know that the Group will continue to explore new areas of work and to think outside of the box on what it can do going forward,” he said. “The MSME Group is now at 98 members, covering roughly 90 per cent of global trade, and I know that the spirit of inclusivity and openness will bring others on board,” he added.
On the margins of the meeting, the Group met with several representatives from small businesses to brief them on the work of the Group, including the recently agreed Work Program, and upcoming events in the lead-up to MSMEs Day on 27 June. The representatives highlighted the importance of engaging with small business when new regulations are developed and underlined the need to share information and harmonize standards.