Philippines official urges more support for Southeast Asia SMEs

A top official from the Philippines on Tuesday said Southeast Asian countries should support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through their economic policies.

"Asean must provide really heavy support to SMEs," said Mr Gregory Domingo, secretary of the department of trade and industry in the Philippines.

Noting that SME development was "often forgotten in the pursuit of economic growth", he said in a speech that SMEs were crucial for large companies to thrive, but did not elaborate on the best economic policies to support SMEs.

Mr Domingo was speaking at the Global Entrepolis @ Singapore forum held at Resorts World Sentosa.

The forum's keynote speaker, Ms Karen Harris, director of macro trends at consultancy Bain in New York, told the forum's 200 attendees that one big risk for companies over the next decade would be disruptions to their supply chains.

One example is when car sales in the United States plunged after a single company making a vital component for red and black car paint had to shut down its Japan factory due to the Fukushima nuclear crisis last year, she said.

The forum was presented by the Singapore Business Federation.