Minister Ng promotes international collaboration, trade diversification and economic recovery at APEC Global Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Forum

News release

June 28, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

International collaboration is key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring a strong, resilient, sustainable and inclusive economic recovery guided by a rules-based and diversified international trading system.

Yesterday, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, participated in a ministerial panel discussion on the first day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Global Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Forum. Hosted by the Philippines, the meeting is being held virtually from June 28 to 30, 2021.

As part of the ministerial panel on MSMEs and globalization, Minister Ng conveyed that while the COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses around the world, certain businesses have been disproportionately affected, namely micro, small and medium sized enterprises and businesses run by women, racialized entrepreneurs and under-represented groups. Minister Ng stressed the importance of international collaboration in making trade more accessible for all to expedite the global recovery from COVID-19 and create a more equitable global future.

During the course of the panel, Minister Ng also noted the rapid digital transformation prompted by COVID-19 and the need to create supports for businesses of all sizes as they make the jump to the digital sphere. She outlined Canada’s strategy in helping MSMEs adopt digital solutions, and also stressed the need for greater support of multilateral workings and a rules-based order with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core in order to create a resilient, reliable and predictable digital trading system.

Minister Ng highlighted Canada’s leadership of the Ottawa Group on WTO reform and called for fellow APEC economies to join the WTO’s work ahead of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference.


“In order to secure a fast and inclusive economic recovery from COVID-19, we must strengthen our trade ties and create even more international opportunities for Canadian MSMEs. Along with our fellow APEC economies, we will continue to expand and diversify our trade supports and enable greater access to trade so that MSMEs here at home and abroad can collaborate and grow, well into the future.

- Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade 

Quick facts

  • Canada is a founding member of APEC. Established in 1989, APEC is a multilateral forum dedicated to promoting free trade and investment, economic growth and development, and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • A forum for 21 member economies, APEC’s primary goal is to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • The APEC Global MSME Forum brings over 200 policymakers, business leaders, officials and academics from APEC’s 21 member economies together to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by MSMEs in expanding their markets within the Asia-Pacific region.

  • Putrajaya Vision 2040 is APEC’s vision for an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community, which focuses on 3 economic drivers: trade and investment; innovation and digitalization; and strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth.

  • The Boracay Action Agenda (BAA) to Globalize MSMEs was endorsed by trade ministers in May 2015 and adopted by APEC economic leaders in November 2015. It promotes the internationalization of MSMEs by increasing their integration into global value chains and addressing barriers to trade and investment that significantly affect smaller businesses. Trade facilitation, trade finance, e-commerce and institutional support are priority areas under the BAA.

  • In May 2021, Canada hosted meetings of the 51st APEC SME Working Group and demonstrated its leadership in supporting SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • In early June 2021, Minister Ng participated in the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, hosted by New Zealand under the theme “Join, Work, Grow. Together.”

Associated links


Alice Hansen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and
International Trade

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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