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Global Trade Association Executive Roundtable

The Global Alliance of SMEs (GASME) organized a Global Trade Association Executive Roundtable on July 13th, 2009 at the Shanghai Galaxy Hotel.

The event was attended by trade association executives from more than 20 nations, including GASME, US-China Exchange Association, US National League of Cities,, Diverse Manufacturing Supply Chain Alliance, British-Chinese Chamber of Commerce in UK, Germany Confederation of Small Business and Skilled Crafts, China Federation of Industries, China International Cooperation Association of SMEs, Delegation of German Industry & Commerce, Japan-China Economic Association, Korea International Trade Association, Confederation of Indian Industries, Europe-China Commercial Union, Japan Association for the Promotion of International Trade, US-China Federation of Chambers of Commerce, China-Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Italian Association of Economics Industry and Trade, Africa-China Trade Investment Facilities, China-Africa Chamber of Commerce, Mexico Chamber of Commerce and US-China Entrepreneur Association.

The roundtable was moderated by Mr. Bian Zhiqiang, Vice Chairman of GASME. According to Mr. Bian, the purpose of hosting the Global SME Expo 2009 in Shanghai amid a global financial crisis was to create a forum for all SME stakeholders to discuss issues most relevant to them, explore multilateral SME partnerships, and promote international SME trade.

He said that SMEs belong to a disadvantaged group in the global economy. The realization that worldwide SMEs need to unite, trade, partner, and complement one another brought all of the attendees together. He also pointed out that the business environment had deteriorated since the outset of the financial crisis. In China, for example, 40% of its SMEs had shut down, and another 40% were barely surviving, while only 20% had been spared by the crisis. He believed that worldwide trade associations could play a more prominent role now that SMEs were in great need of help. Quoting a Chinese saying-"the flame rises when everybody contributes firewood", he concluded that trade associations from around the world should increase their cooperation to create synergy in order to usher in a new era of SME collaboration, exchange and development.

Following Mr. Bian's speech, attendees carried out lively discussions over how to foster international cooperation of SMEs from different countries. All agreed that a SME recovery would lead to a global economic rebound. Therefore it was an imperative to advocate the cooperation among global SMEs. GASME Executive Chairman Dr. George Wang indicated that his organization would launch a Global SME International Partnership Program jointly with trade associations and governments from different countries in the near future, the mission of which would be to directly promote bilateral and multilateral SME international cooperation by staging large-scale collaboration activities as well as creating fast links between demand and supply, buyer and seller, and ideas and implementation.