With the establishment of the ASEAN Community by the end of 2015, ASEAN has seen great interest and confidence in the prospects and opportunities for businesses, both big and small, in the region. This is especially an opportune time for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). As a key driver and contributor to the GDP of ASEAN economies, SMEs have not only sustained and bolstered the region’s exports but have also increased employment and enabled greater integration of women and youth into the economy. ASEAN recognises the need to link SMEs, vertically and horizontally, with enterprises, traders, suppliers, manufacturers and consumers within ASEAN Member States and FTA partners so that, by enhancing their market access and paving the way for their internationalisation, SMEs are able to take advantage of the trade and investment opportunities and benefits from regional economic integration.
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