The two-day Seminar on the AEC Information for Business, which ended Tuesday, promoted awareness and understanding on AEC's key initiatives for the business community.
Palarin Yamchinda, Director of Policy and Strategy Unit, Office of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Promotion of Thailand, asserted the importance of enhancing the competitiveness and dynamism of ASEAN SMEs by facilitating their access to information, market, human resources development and skills, finance, and technology.
Syed Nabil Fauwaz Aljeffri, Secretary-General of the ASEAN-Business Advisory Council called for the public and private sector collaboration in order to reduce non-tariff barriers/ measures (NTBs/ NTMs) to spur trade in the region.
He raised the challenges faced by SMEs, including limited access to finance, market, technology, and facilitating free movement of goods.
Lack of understanding and information also impede intra ASEAN Trade, he said, adding that to overcome these issues, ASEAN-BAC is studying ways to lower NTBs/ NTMs and optimise the usage of information and communication technology to support SME activities.
In an effort to raise awareness and promote information dissemination on the AEC to the business community in ASEAN, the ASEAN SME Agencies Working Group (SMEWG), in coordination with the ASEAN Secretariat, is working on the ASEAN SME Service Centre Web Portal.
The portal will provide information, business and trade opportunities and advisory services to SMEs with regional and sub-regional linkages to the SME web portal among ASEAN member states, the ASEAN Secretariat said.