Participants in an international small and medium enterprises (SMEs) forum said Thursday that SMEs will become a significant engine for regional economic cooperation. A total of 150 officials, diplomats and entrepreneurs from 19 countries attended the fourth session of the China-West Asian and North African Countries Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Cooperation Forum, which concluded Thursday in the city of Changzhou in east China\'s Jiangsu Province. \"SMEs have played an irreplaceable role in raising fiscal revenues, generating more jobs and improving the structure of the economy. We believe that SMEs\' continued growth and development is the key to realizing regional prosperity,\" said Xu Kemin, director of the SME division of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. China\'s SMEs form the bulk of the country\'s private investors, accounting for 99 percent of China\'s registered enterprises and more than 65 percent of the total GDP, according to official data. Chinese entrepreneurs shared their experience regarding the ways in which the government supports SMEs, such as by creating multiple financing channels and providing market information, as well as seeking potential for future cooperation with West Asian and North African countries. Li Peng, head of the Middle East marketing department of Trinasolar, a leading PV company, said West Asia and North Africa have significant potential. \"Countries in these regions have rich natural resources and officials there have the vision and enthusiasm to develop SMEs business, particularly in the area of renewable energy,\" he said. Mohammad Shtayyeh, Minister of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, said SMEs are the pillar of Palestine\'s economy and China\'s experience in advocating innovation will help Palestine build up its own SMEs. Salam Alsmism, economic advisor to the Iraqi Superum Islamic Council, said his country\'s fertile land, abundant underground water and mild climate are suitable for Chinese companies to develop, adding that the country has implemented investment laws to facilitate overseas investment in Iraq. Salah Al-Mazidi, senior advisor to the Director General Office of the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, said he hopes Chinese SMEs will not only bring investment to Kuwait, but also carry out personnel training and scientific research in the country to generate jobs. Forum participants agreed that SMEs in many countries and regions, including China, are experiencing similar challenges, adding that joint efforts are needed for the sustainable development of SMEs. Fang Guoqiang, deputy mayor of Changzhou, said the government is determined to improve the business environment for SMEs. \"The government will strengthen assistance for human resource development, innovation, productivity improvement and entrepreneurship,\" he said. Fu Ziying, vice governor of Jiangsu, said the provincial government will assist SMEs in selling local products overseas and facilitating their participation in international industrial exhibitions. This year\'s forum was hosted by the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the Jiangsu provincial government.