Resurgence of trade brewing in BIMP-EAGA countries
Manila (11 August) -- Resurgence of trade relations among countries under the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) has started as member nations see a better economic and security environment across the borders.
Trade Undersecretary Merly Cruz said the objective of BIMP-EAGA is to give attention to areas in respective countries that are far from the capital, citing Mindanao and Palawan for the Philippines as an example.
Presidential Adviser on Mindanao Jesus Dureza said they want to see that regulations of member-countries are harmonized because the four nations have been trading in the past.
Dureza and Cruz led the Philippine delegation as the Philippine Signing Minister and Philippine Senior Official for BIMP-EAGA respectively at the 18th Senior Officials and 14th Ministerial Meeting (SOM/MM) held in Brunei Darussalam last week.
Last month, a Philippine-EAGA Technical Support Staff Meeting (TSSM) was held in Koronadal City during which the Philippine-EAGA sector had reviewed and validated the developments of various in-country initiatives related to BIMP-EAGA.
Cruz bared the re-opening of the Ekran Berhad Casino in the Island Garden of the City of Samal in Davao as part of the BIMP-EAGA initiatives.
"The very first investment concept that was brought in the initial stage of BIMP-EAGA was really the Ekran Berhad project. The intention then was to bring in tourists from Malaysia in the shortest route which is connecting Kota Kinabalu and Davao. The initial stage was more of private sector driven discussion….it is more of bringing in the players directly to Davao," she said.
Dureza said that due to the Asian financial crisis at that time, the project was stalled. However, with the renewed interest in forging trade relationships, the Malaysian investors made a sound decision to continue the project in Samal Island.
Davao Congressman Antonio Lagdameo, who also attended the Malacanang press conference, explained that roughly Php50 million will be the government's revenues from business, property and income taxes once the Ekran Berhad project opens. (PIA) [top]