By Hoang Phi - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – The third meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) has wrapped up with a strong message of support to trade liberalization in a bid to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow stronger.
|The press conference on the third ABAC meeting is held in HCMC on Thursday - Photo: Hoang Phi |
Tony Nowell, chair of ABAC's Regional Economic Integration Working Group (REIWG), said trade liberalization would stimulate the development of businesses, so it could be a measure to protect vulnerable SMEs at a time of economic hardship.
Protectionism is contrary to liberalization and it is really dangerous to SMEs, said Nowell at a press conference held in HCMC on Thursday. Therefore, he added, APEC’s viewpoint and stance is to fight against protectionism and strongly support trade liberalization.
According to Nowell, the relationship between SMEs and large firms in a supply chain is a symbiotic one. For example, a recent survey of Procter&Gamble (P&G) shows a surprising result that the multinational has more suppliers than customers.
P&G has some 126,000 suppliers worldwide, most of which are SMEs, said Nowell. When P&G business takes off, SMEs will also grow well, he added.
Experts suggested Vietnam’s Government should open the door wider and select certain industries to boost trade liberalization. Furthermore, to lure more foreign investors, the State needs to offer them favorable conditions in terms of licensing procedures, together with simpler and more transparent policies.
The public-private partnership (PPP) format was also highlighted as a highly viable investment channel.
From now to 2020, Asia-Pacific demands US$8 trillion for infrastructure development, said experts. The regional governments could hardly afford such a huge amount, so PPP format is a must.
PPP is also the topic of a meeting between foreign investors and the ministries of finance and industry-trade taking place in Hanoi on Friday, with an aim to remove barriers.
Anthony Nightingale, director of Jardine Matheson Holdings, a member of Hong Kong ABAC, said a PPP project should pay attention to three factors, namely setting reasonable tariffs, site clearance, and financial sources.
Especially, with road projects, private investors cannot carry out site clearance on a large scale, with multiple residents involved, but the Government should play a role in this aspect. Moreover, investors are also concerned about the payback period.