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It is common knowledge that SMEs make a significant contribution to their economies, but they often operate in a twilight zone — seen and acknowledged, but not properly understood or catered for at the policy level. The 2016 WTO Public Forum at the end of September in Geneva with the theme of Inclusive trade exposed hurdles SMEs face in trying to turn entrepreneurial ideas into viable businesses. However, the services sector offers new hope to small businesses in LDCs (least-developed countries) where weak manufacturing potential constrains development. Technological advances are having a profound effect on how and where people work. In an international context, technology is a key driver of the global value chain (GVC) phenomenon, whereby traditional production processes are carved into tasks and outsourced to entities with distinct cost advantages in different parts of the world. Value chains favour specialisation, creating opportunities even for small businesses with limited prod...

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