Ministers and senior officials to an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting have pledged to continue to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) overcome the economic crisis, focusing on policies and initiatives to improve their capacities to access capital sources and expand market shares.

The commitment was made at the APEC SME Ministerial Meeting held in Singapore on Oct. 8 and 9.

The meeting welcomed Singapore ’s proposal to set up a centre for SME market research and capability development.

The centre would provide joint business collaborations, provide regional market research and market intelligence and develop market access.

The meeting agreed upon signals of economic recovery and called on APEC leaders to continue giving priority to resist protectionism.

APEC's 21 member economies are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam./.