SMEs told to brace for Asean competition

Asean Business Advisory Council has suggested that it needs to promote the market competitiveness of the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and regional integration.

Myanmar has laid down a plan to support its SMEs step by step.

Wai Phyo, vice president of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), said: “We have spent six months writing reports to be submitted to the leaders. All the reports are ready. The main focus is on SMEs and entrepreneurs. The next thing is about business leaders. There are many requirements for the SMEs.”

President Thein Sein said at the opening ceremony of Asean Business and Investment Summit: “To reduce the poverty rate and lessen the development gap within Asean remains a major challenge. The SMEs will play a major role in the establishment of the Asean Economic Community in 2015. It would help employment opportunities, socio-economic development by raising incomes, development in remote regions and narrow economic gaps.”

This year’s programme covered regional integration, the narrowing of development gaps and creating a healthy, competitive environment. Myanmar’s SMEs may face more competition in 2015 as the country had yet to systematically prepare in priority sectors, Wai Phyo added.

He said: “It needs financing as well as technology. The SMEs law has been passed. The bylaws are in the draft stage. Then, the next step is how to help the SMEs through a step-by-step method. We have opportunities as well as anxieties for 2015. It is natural. It would be a golden opportunity for well-prepared firms. SMEs that have not prepared may face tough competition. There will be many competitive sectors in Myanmar. Our country’s infrastructure is weak compared with other countries.”

Eric Alberto, executive vice chairman of Long Distance Telephone Company in the Philippines, said: “With the exception of heavy industries, SMEs are unready for regional integration. The SMEs have to target the local market only. The Philippines is not interested in the integration of SMEs within Asean.”


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