Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today delivered keynote remarks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Small and Medium Enterprise Enhancing Competitiveness through Green Growth Forum in advance of the APEC 2011 SME Ministerial Meeting. He urged small- and medium-sized businesses  throughout the Asia-Pacific region to incorporate green growth strategies into their business development plans to increase their global competitiveness.
The Competitiveness and Green Growth Forum provided an opportunity to discuss ways to help APEC economies incorporate green growth policies into the business development plans of SMEs. The Forum also paved the groundwork for the APEC SME Ministers’ discussions on green growth-focused technical and financial assistance programs for SMEs.
Locke met with representatives from U.S. companies during a luncheon to highlight how APEC meetings can help connect American companies with public and private sector officials from all the 21 APEC economies and open up more business opportunities. In 2010, 60 percent of U.S. goods exports were to the APEC economies.
Locke also held a series of one-on-one discussions with trade ministers from New Zealand , Vietnam , and the Philippines  to raise market access issues and discuss goals for the ministerial meetings.
The APEC SME Ministerial is held annually by the APEC host economy to advance APEC's support for micro, small, and medium enterprises that comprise the majority of businesses in all 21 APEC member economies. This year’s meeting has the highest level of private sector engagement from APEC economies to date. The objective of the SME Ministerial and related meetings is to encourage the development of SMEs and to build their capacity to engage in international trade.