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Chile's APEC year: New Opportunities for Business

Thu, Jun. 27, 2019 7:30am — 9:00am
The Northern Club, Princes Street, Auckland

LANZBC members were treated to another excellent event on Thursday 27 June, with Loreto Leyton, the Executive Director of ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council) 2019 giving an overview of Chile’s plans for APEC 2019 and how these goals could create new opportunities for exporters.

The event was hosted by the three Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence and the LANZBC over breakfast at Auckland’s Northern Club, with Loreto providing an informative insight into Chile’s areas of focus for its APEC year.

Technology, regulatory issues and SMEs were identified as the three main issues across the economies of APEC countries. Chile was keen to recognise the importance of SMEs and Entrepreneurs on the global economy by hosting an SME Summit as part of its APEC year.

Ms Leyton reported that the APEC SME Summit would be held within the framework of APEC Chile on Thursday, November 14, 2019 in Santiago, and was expected to convene around 1,000 SMEs and entrepreneurs, not only from Chile but from Asia Pacific, plus hundreds more that will connect via live broadcast. The SME Summit, an initiative promoted and co-organized by the Chilean Pacific Foundation, has as one of its objectives, the promotion of SME activities and entrepreneurship through its integration with the Asia-Pacific region.

ABAC has also agreed on two deliverables relating to SMEs for 2019: the launch of a Monde B2B Platform, and the creation of the APEC Start Up Challenge.

The Monde B2B Platform is intended to support producers with technology to export their products to different parts of the world. Each company using the platform would be verified, ensuring a high level of trust between users. The platform would also provide an instant ‘chat’ function with translation between multiple languages. The platform is currently being installed in Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, with Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico, installed in the second phase. New Zealand was expected to be included in the fourth phase.

The APEC Start Up Challenge would select the best startups of the Asia-Pacific region, awarding the winners with investments to transform them in profitable companies that can impact Chile and the region. Three categories of investment were available for entrants:

1. Accelerator Fund (up to US$100,000): Aimed at startups that have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to market
2. Angel investors (between US$50,000 and US$300,000): Aimed at startups that have commercial validation and face potential escalation
3. CLIN Fund (up to US$500,000): Aimed at startups that are in the escalation and / or internationalization phase

The winners of the Accelerator category and the new investments of the Angels network and CLIN Fund will also present at the APEC SME SUMMIT 2019 and will all receive an all-inclusive trip to Singapore for 5 days, to participate in a Venture Capitalists roadshow.

Loreto provided evidence of the opportunities for Exporters under APAC, noting that between 2016-2017, tariffs had reduced on average from 5.5% to 5.3%, with the number of tariff-free products in the APEC region in the same period increasing to almost 50%.
Loreto referred to the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement negotiations, announced between Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, which would consider all aspects of the digital economy that would support digital trade policy in the digital era.

Loreto also mentioned the South Pacific Undersea Cable, the proposed new digital bridge connecting Asia and South America, a high capacity route to allow datacenters on both sides of the Pacific to interact with minimum delays, and the potential for New Zealand to be an intermediate point for the cable.

The LANZBC wishes to thank the Latin America CAPE for the opportunity to co-host this event, and offers their congratulations on bringing Loreto Leyton to New Zealand for a very successful week of engagement.

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