The US-ASEAN Business Council and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched a partnership programme to promote the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The US-ASEAN Business Alliance for SMEs, which will focus on training and mentoring, builds on an SME-training programme created in 2011 at the request of ASEAN's Economic Ministers.

Speaking at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on April 22, Joakim Parker, director of USAID's Vietnam Mission, said the partnership would make it easier for SMEs in ASEAN to be more competitive internationally.

Alexander Feldman, president of the US-ASEAN Council, said that SMEs in ASEAN, as in the US, were a critical part of the economy and would continue to power Southeast Asia in the years to come.

As part of the programme, a workshop was held on April 22 to provide more than 100 Vietnamese entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge needed to enter international markets.

At the workshop, experts from US companies discussed cross-border e-commerce, exports to global markets, and best practices of global suppliers.

Future activities of the US-ASEAN Business Alliance will be organised throughout the region with the next event planned for June in Malaysia.-VNA