Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Laos, Thailand and Vietnam gathered in Vientiane, Laos on June 28 to discuss orientations towards the ASEAN Economic Community.

Participants heard reports on small and medium-sized enterprises’ operational capacity, national policies for SMEs and their contributions to the nations, especially creating many jobs for unskilled people, contributing to reducing poverty and increasing social welfare.

Reports also highlighted shortcomings and challenges of each country’s businesses in the development process, particularly in capital, technology, human resources, business capacity and trade promotion.

Delegates affirmed that integration in the ASEAN Community by 2015 reflects the determination and efforts of the member countries in creating a highly competitive economic region.

To develop and integrate more deeply, small and medium-sized enterprises should make more efforts to narrow the gap in human resources and technology, as well as strengthen connectivity, cooperation, information and experience sharing, they said.

They also asked each government to provide more financial and technical assistance and create appropriate policies to help SMEs overcome their challenges.-VNA