Remarks by Dr. Susan K. Brems, Mission Director, ASEAN 2017 MSME Development Summit

Speeches Shim

Friday, July 14, 2017

[As Prepared]


USAID is pleased to be part of this important gathering, and I congratulate you, Mr. Secretary, and all who have worked hard with you to organize this impressive gathering. This summit highlights the Philippine government’s clear resolve to support small businesses. I also wish to greet all the representatives from the other ASEAN Member States who are joining us today.

The role of micro, small and medium enterprises is pivotal in achieving inclusive growth in the Philippines, in the ASEAN region, and in the world. Sharing this conviction, USAID has assisted many countries around the world to improve the enabling environment for MSMEs and strengthen their role in their respective economies.

Here in the Philippines, the Partnership for Growth with Equity between the governments of the Philippines and the United States has supported numerous initiatives to help micro, small and medium enterprises. We have nearly two dozen projects and activities of this nature operating in many different parts of the country. Example of our work to support micro, small and medium businesses are: partnering with banks on credit guarantees, collaborating with business development service providers, connecting farmers to markets, improving supply chains and logistics, streamlining business permitting processes, and facilitating research and technology applications for businesses.

Through our Trade-Related Assistance for Development, or TRADE Project, ably led by Dr. Cielito Habito, USAID partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry to convene nearly one-hundred stakeholders from various sectors to come up with recommendations that will become part of the output of this Summit. Today, I am pleased to launch three publications USAID has helped produce for the Department of Trade and Industry to help micro, small and medium enterprises become stronger contributors to inclusive economic growth.

The first one, “Alternative Sources of S-M-E Financing,” produced in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State (cover flashes on the screen with brief description) addresses one of the top impediments to starting or sustaining a small business – access to credit. This publication points out that small business financing options go well beyond bank loans – and identifies what those options are. Some of these potential funding sources are traditional ones that have been around for a long time, while others are new, creative financing mechanisms, enabled by the Internet.

The second publication, “From Local to Global: Borderless Business for Philippine M-S-M-Es” (cover flashes on screen with brief description) is the result of our collaboration with the Makati Business Club and is addressed particularly to aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs who are open to reaching beyond borders to grow their businesses. This book details the opportunities made accessible to MSMEs by the different free trade agreements to which the Philippines is a signatory. It also lists various government programs to assist entrepreneurs, from starting a business to reaching out overseas. We hope that this publication can help expand the number of small Filipino firms that are already reaping the benefits of reaching beyond the domestic market.

The third publication updates the Philippine ASEAN Economic Community Game Plan that USAID earlier helped put together for the inter-agency Committee for the ASEAN Economic Community. This new Philippine AEC 2025 Game Plan (cover flashes on the screen with brief description) was motivated by the subsequent adoption by the 10 ASEAN Member States of a new 10-year roadmap embodied in a new ASEAN Economic Community 2025 Blueprint. Concurrently, the Duterte administration has adopted a new Philippine Development Plan for 2017-2022. The updated Game Plan shows how the 2025 Blueprint aligns with the Philippine Development Plan’s desired outcomes. It reaffirms the original Game Plan’s four Cs strategy of Competitiveness, Compliance, Collaboration and Communication, and highlights the government’s push to achieve competitiveness at the national, industry and enterprise levels.

The Game Plan now also cites the Department of Trade and Industry’s seven Ms MSME Strategy. Like the second publication, it is a valuable reference for small businesses, with its comprehensive listing of support programs and initiatives, along with corresponding contact information.

We are happy to have partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine government through the production of these three new publications.

Thank you very much and good day!

Issuing Country 

Last updated: October 19, 2020

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