London, Friday 26th June 2020
On the occasion of the United Nations World Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Day 2020, the UK Trade and Investment Advocacy Fund (TAF2+) has today announced that it is scaling-up its support to the work of the Joint Statement Initiative on MSMEs, which was launched by 87 countries at the WTO’’s 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017.
The scaled-up support from TAF 2+ is in response to a proposal from the MSMEs JSI Informal Working Group for the development of a new online platform. The platform aims to support the increased participation of MSMEs in international trade, recognising the economic contribution of MSMEs in every economy and the challenges that they face, particularly in developing countries and LDCs.
The new online platform will link MSMEs with practical tools to support their entrance and participation in global markets; and provide policymakers and business associations with ideas and examples of best practices, such as provisions included in regional trade agreements to serve as a guide for governments interested in supporting their MSMEs.
TAF2+ has today pledged to increase its contribution to build and help populate the new online platform with the MSMEs Informal Working Group, following on from the design work it has funded since January 2020. The increased contribution will be extended through the TAF2+ Umbrella Grant, which provides a range of support to developing countries and LDCs participating in three of the joint statement initiatives launched at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2017, namely on MSMEs, e-commerce and investment facilitation.
Making the announcement today, Tom Pengelly, TAF2+ Strategy & Results Director and CEO at Saana Consulting, said:
“TAF2+ is delighted to scale-up our support to the Informal Working Group for the MSMEs web-platform and see the progress being made in the work of the MSMEs joint statement initiative. The development of the new web-platform is very timely given the impacts of COVID-19 on MSMEs in developing countries and LDCs. It is really important to increase MSMEs participation in global markets so that the benefits from trade for boosting incomes, employment and economic growth can be shared most widely.”
Responding to the announcement, Ambassador José Luis Cancela, Uruguay’s Permanent Representative at the WTO and General Coordinator of the MSMEs Informal Working Group said:
“Enhanced access to information is a recurring demand from MSMEs from all over the world in their efforts to internationalise. One of the key deliverables of the Informal Working Group on MSMEs is the web platform, which will link to useful tools, databases, and other resources available. The COVID-19 crisis heavily impacts MSMEs and makes such a platform more needed than ever. I am very grateful to TAF 2+ for their partnership with us, and it is my hope that we can move rapidly on this project so that we can offer some support to our MSMEs in the very near future.”
The Trade and Investment Advocacy Fund (TAF2+) is a UK government funded programme providing on-demand technical assistance to developing countries to help them engage in vital trade and investment negotiations.