Canadian officials on Thursday announced that their country will provide over US$13 million toward projects to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the most vulnerable workers in Southeast Asia become more successful.
According to the Canadian Embassy in Hanoi, Canada will help the governments of ASEAN member states put SME-friendly policies and programs in place and help to identify opportunities to integrate SMEs into global value chains.
Those supports in research, training and capacity building will be provided in partnership with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Canada’s International Development Research Center will also support research into improving ASEAN’s participation in global value chains.
These initiatives aim to provide policymakers and other relevant stakeholders with the knowledge, training, tools and resources they need to ensure SMEs, particularly women-run SMEs, are competitive, resilient and able to access international markets.
“Through Canada’s progressive trade agenda, we are working to ensure that these benefits are enjoyed and recognized by all segments of society around the world,” said Canadian Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland.
SMEs account for more than 96 percent of all enterprises and for between 50 and 95 percent of employment in many ASEAN member states.
In 2015, the bloc of 10 countries, with some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, had a collective GDP estimated at over $3.1 trillion in 2015.
The ASEAN region is Canada’s sixth-largest merchandise trading partner. In 2015, the value of bilateral merchandise trade reached $21.4 billion.