BIMP iCon tackles EAGA's new direction
By Mai Gevera
DAVAO CITY (23 October) -- Different stakeholders of the BIMP-EAGA Business Council are now discussing possible ways to forward the BIMP-EAGA Development Roadmap of 2006-2010 with the start of the BIMP iCon opened in this city yesterday.
More than 300 participants from the four member countries joined the said conference which was aimed to focus on five thematic areas which include transportation, infrastructure, and communication; tourism; natural resources development; and SME development.
The BIMP-EAGA is now shifting priorities after realizing that inter-trading within the four countries is not bringing much development within the cluster due to the similarities of products and services found the member-countries.
Mindanao Business Council Chairperson Vicente Lao said, "BIMP is now positioning itself as BIMP against the world which means that member countries of the EAGA will be helping each other to trade products with the other countries like China, Australia, and the like."
The business leaders observed that consolidation of products and services within the EAGA region is the way to go.
"We may not totally eliminate trading within the region but we will try to focus now on how members could help each other to be able to trade with non-members," he said.
He stressed that growth is minimal when there is competition between countries that offer the same products. However, with the plan of consolidation the four countries will be working on one another's strengths and weakness instead to meet the demand of trading of other countries.
Philippine Senior Official for BIMP-EAGA Merly Cruz said that consolidation may be easily imagined but requires a lot of preparation for it to be finally pushed.
"Though it would be easy since consolidation may be done virtually but we still need to work with the other EAGA countries, strengthen our convergence so that our consolidated force would be strength in the global market," she said.
Lao announced the launching of Business Development Unit to be established in each member-country early next year. The said office will handle and take charge of developing product line and meet up with other countries to meet the production demand and other requirements.
The BIMP iCon would also discuss proposals in addressing the gaps in each member country. Participants also have the chance of matching their products with other participants through the business matching sessions. Business institutions and organizations also get to exhibit their product line and services to seek for potential partners. (PIA XI) [top]