In the meeting convened between Director-General of Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) and Head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM) the role of SMEs and the private sector on removal of economic crisis was emphasized.
According to the report of ICCIM Public Relations, Head of ICCIM, "Mohammad Nahavandian" emphasized on the presence of CACCI in WTO meetings, noting that initiation of WTO has been originally European and American base, but it has to be changed and participation of an Asian organization in the meetings and negotiations is necessary.
Pointing to the workshop on "Financing of Small & Medium Enterprises" which held in ICCIM with the cooperation of CACCI and ITC, Nahavandian said holding such seminars can be a good start for economic cooperation.
Iran Chamber is strengthening its relations with Chambers in the Asia-Pacific region, Nahavandian stated.
Emphasizing on having good economic relations with Turkey, India and Pakistan, he said Asian economy is gaining more significant role on global affairs and representation of Asian economy has to be strengthen.
In the current condition that we are facing with new economic opportunities at the global level, it is necessary to strengthen and empower the private sector, he emphasized.
The issues of crisis and financial institutions have global and regional solution, he expressed, and noting we have to recognize these solutions and should not just expect the governments to provide solutions in this regard, therefore; without participation of the private sectors and SMEs the recovery of the problems cannot be completed.
The private sectors and SMEs can play effective and significant roles on the economy of the country, and as a result, it is necessary to strengthen the role of Chambers of Commerce and SMEs in this case, he said.
He finally stated Asia has enough budgets for economic development, noting that achieving economic objectives in Asia necessitates appropriate arrangements and management to be done.
Director General of Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry, (CACCI), "Webster Kiang" pointed to the CACCI's member Chambers from different regions such as Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and some other countries, noting that CACCI is interested in expanding its activities in order to be able to gather more businessmen and traders with each other.
He also pointed to cooperation of CACCI with other organizations in Asia, noting that different councils are under supervision of CACCI such as banking council.
Holding exhibitions, seminars, and workshops as well as publishing newsletters are among other activities of CACCI, he declared.
"A Workshop on Financing Small and Medium Enterprises"
According to this report a "Workshop on Financing Small and Medium Enterprises was held in ICCIM with the attendance of Director General of CACCI, Senior Advisor of ITC, and a group of Iranian traders and businessmen.
Director General of CACCI, Webster Kiang pointed to Iran Chamber of Commerce as a new member of CACCI noting that CACCI was established in 1966 with 6 member Chambers which were Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce, Japan and Korea and its vision was establishing cooperation with Europe and America at first.
During the years member countries have expanded economic relations with each other and invested in each other's countries, he noted.
Pointing to holding annual meetings and workshops by CACCI, he said there are different councils under the supervision of CACCI including councils for SMEs, women and youth entrepreneurs and four industrial sectors such as computer information, tourism, chemical and textile.
Pointing to the activities done by banking council in CACCI, he said the focus of this council is on development and marketing in Asia and any Asian countries, adding that new movements have been started for developing Asian markets and financial institutions.
He finally declared that CACCI have done different activities for updating financial report of enterprises, holding negotiations between state-run and private sector companies, as well as providing assistance regarding financing SMEs.
Information and Network; the Most Important Factor for a Successful Trade
Senior Adviser of ITC, "Roger Megelas" also pointed to human resources, information and knowledge, financial resources and network as the necessities of successful trade, noting that in the current global condition information and network are major factors for having a successful trade.
Pointing to the global economic crisis, he said financial crisis has stopped and financial institutes are starting their activities.
Emphasizing on importance of having access to financial resources, he said if SMEs can not have access to the financial resources, their engines will stop from growing.
For solving the problems of crisis, having negotiation with international financial institutes, the governments and trade supporting organizations is necessary since they can find appropriate policies for helping SMEs to overcome the problems.
Active presence of SMEs is necessary in today's world and if they cannot compete with each other, their activities will stop, he said.
He also pointed to the problems Iranian SMEs faced with, adding that lack of access to financial resources and inappropriate business environment for competitiveness are among the most important problems SMEs are faced with.
He also described about activities done by ITC and said ITC has been established with the joint cooperation of WTO and UNCTAD and its mission is providing technical assistance to SMEs.
ITC's focus is on trade issues and helps SMEs to access financial resources which will lead to alleviation of poverty and increase of employment in the countries.
Effects of Global Economic Crisis on SMEs
ICCIM Deputy for International Affairs, "Mehdi Fakheri" pointed to the effects of global economic crisis on Iran and said we have faced economic problems due to crisis which has also affected SMEs in the country.
There are more than 1200000 SMEs in Iran and 95% of ICCIM members are SMEs, Fakheri pointed out, adding that 23 million SMEs are active in European Union which helped increase of employment as well.
SMEs play significant role on the country's economy, international trade and development of employment, he said, and continued that SMEs have faced problems and difficulties for paving their ways to international trade atmosphere such as challenges regarding structural, legal, financial as well as market access.
Iranian business community can be developed in a way that SMEs can benefit from it and ICCIM as a parliament of the private sector should try to facilitate the activities of the private sector, he stated.
International organizations such as WTO and ITC can provide financial assistant for developing countries, he added.
Emphasizing on developing relations between ICCIM and international organizations, Fakheri said this workshop is the first one being held with the cooperation of international organizations which are CACCI and ITC.
He finally called on international organizations to provide technical assistant for Iran and to assist Iranian private sector to gain
access to international financial resources since utilizing these financial resources is a long and complex process.
SMEs are the Engines of the Economy
Board Member of Karafarin Bank and Advisor of Head of ICCIM in Foreign Investment Affaires, "Seyed Hosein Salimi" stated that banking system before the Islamic Revolution was the same as the banking system in West, but according to the approved laws in 1981 they had to follow the Islamic procedure.
Private banks have established 10 years ago and at the moment there are eight private banks in the country, Salimi said adding that private banks are competing with state-run banks which has led to development of state-run banks as well.
Pointing to the effect of economic crisis on banks, he said SMEs have faced problems with importation to the country and it is necessary to find solution for SMEs which are faced with the effects of financial crisis.
SMEs in Iran are faced with more problems in comparison with SMEs in other countries which are due to war, crises and sanctions in the country, he declared.
Pointing to ICCIM's support of SMEs, he said we want to see how Chamber of Commerce can help SMEs to develop their projects and to access financial resources.
He finally said SMEs are engines of the economy, adding that most of SMEs have no access to the international financial resources and they need to be supported and encouraged in this case.