The Brunei-Indonesia-Philippines East Asian Growth Arias

The Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) ministers have decided that the best way to help BIMP-EAGA take off is “to concentrate on a few projects”.

In this respect, they had tasked the senior officials to look into five or six projects that could be presented to the leaders during the 6th BIMP-EAGA Summit in October in Phuket, Thailand.

The projects have to do with improving infrastructure, connectivity and products such as agricultural products, said a statement issued by Sabah Industrial Development Ministry here today.

The 14th BIMP-EAGA Ministers Meeting was held in Bandar Seri Begawan on Aug 8 and chaired by Brunei Foreign Affairs and Trade Second Minister Pehin Lim Jock Seng.

Sabah was represented by Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah.

The statement said the meeting had discussed, among others, the progress of the implementation of the BIMP-EAGA Roadmap to Development that includes development in priority areas of BIMP-EAGA such as in transport connectivity, energy interconnection, tourism promotion, trade facilitation, natural resources and SME development.

It also deliberated on the future direction of BIMP-EAGA beyond 2010.

The statement said the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia (ERIA) had secured a US$15 million budget for a comprehensive masterplan to coordinate, expedite, upgrade and expand subregional initiatives in East Asia alongside promoting private sector participation.

BIMP-EAGA, along with the Mekong-India Industrial Corridor and several other areas, have been identified by ERIA as critical areas that need further growth in the region.

The masterplan will cover the whole BIMP-EAGA region but some areas will be taken with special focus, such as establishing a logistics network between Southern Mindanao in the Philippines and North Sulawesi in Indonesia.

It said that the ministers also had an interactive session with diverse private sector representatives from BIMP-EAGA region as well as Japan.

The session had the objective of exchanging views and concerns of the private sector in their business dealings in the subregion.

The ministers underscored the need for closer coordination and regular engagement between the private sector and BIMP-EAGA Ministers and officials in the implementation of the BIMP-EAGA Roadmap to Development initiatives and programmes.

In conjunction with the meetings, the BIMP-EAGA Trade Exposition and Business Conference were also held. Over 50 exhibitors took part in the exposition with participation from Japanese and BIMP-EAGA companies.

Some 100 people from the public and private sectors in BIMP-EAGA and Japan took part in the conference that discussed wide-ranging topics from transport and logistics to trade facilitation, environment and financing options for the private sector. — BERNAMA