PROVIDING a seamless and better business environment for small, and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be among the major key issues to be tackled during the 3rd Asean-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Good Regulatory Practices Network (GRPN) Meeting on March 14 to 16 in Iloilo City.

"SMEs will be given special attention in the discussions and this is consistent with the priorities of the Philippine Development Plan," said Ernesto Pernia, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, during a pre-event press briefing on the 3rd Asean-OECD Good Regulatory Practice Network Meeting on March 10 at the Neda Executive Lounge, Pasig City.

He said one of the goals of the PDP is strengthening value and supply chain linkages to develop globally-competitive industries and services, especially for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in regional and global production networks and global value chain.

"This will also be discussed in the meeting where part of the enabling environment is a simplified set of rules and regulations on business registration and licensing, entry and exit, paying taxes, and access to finance," Pernia said.

He added that member countries will be sharing their best practices and experienced in improving the business environment, especially on business start-up processes, simplifying administrative procedures, and reducing red tape.

"The meeting will also include a session that will allow participants to gain a deeper understanding of the regulatory challenges faced by SMEs in the various GVC stages. It will provide a platform to address issues in order to facilitate the integration of Asean SMEs into GVCs," Pernia said.

He said reducing inequality in economic opportunities to level the playing field for business will also be discussed during the meeting.

Pernia said the strategies to improve economic opportunities include the prevention of anti-competitive practices, reducing barriers to entry, and reducing limits to entrepreneurship.

"Given this environment, even MSMEs can actively participate in the market. It will likewise encourage innovation and increase efficiency. Moreover, Asean cooperation to promote competition in the region will further expand economic opportunities even for MSMEs," Pernia said.

"We welcome this opportunity to learn from our colleagues in the Asean and our partners in the OECD. We are eager to collaborate with fellow member states towards a better regulatory environment in the Asean," Pernia added.