The Philippines will host this year’s largest sub-regional trade fair and business conference that will gather the top business leaders and traders from two economic sub-regional groupings within the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Business players from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand will converge here from October 23 to 26 for the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders’ Conference 2014, an international event designed to attract foreign investments and promote regional cooperation within Asia and the Pacific region.
BIMP-EAGA stands for Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, while the IMT-GT stands for Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Growth Triangle.
“While both growth triangles have their respective road maps, this convergence will enhance our competitiveness by turning the sub-region into a single investment area and production network, thereby accelerating economic growth in Southeast Asia,” said Luwalhati Antonino, Chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the Philippine Coordinating Office for BIMP-EAGA.
The international fair and business conference, which will be held at the SM Lanang Premier’s SMX Convention Center will feature a series of sub-events designed to strengthen economic, social, and cultural relations in preparation for the ASEAN integration in 2015.
Antonino explained that the trade fair and business conference are follow through events to the 1st BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Consumer Fair and Business Transformation Leaders Conference held in Melaka, Malaysia in December of 2012, where the Philippines expressed its commitment to sustain the convergence by hosting this year’s fair and conference.
Key exporters and producers in the ASEAN region will conduct sharing of strategies during the Business Leaders’ Conference, and will discuss the potential impact of the ASEAN integration on SMEs and on their participation in the supply chain.
Also on the agenda are Climate Change Adaptation and the alignment of the four pillars of BIMP-EAGA, namely connectivity, food basket, tourism, and environment. Investment programs within the Mindanao Development Corridors, the island-region’s spatial development framework, will also be presented.
The trade fair, which will be dovetailed by the Business Leaders’ Conference will showcase the finest and unique products of participating countries as well as current developments in the services sector, technology innovations, and investment opportunities. Business-matching sessions will be conducted simultaneously with the trade fair and the business conference.
“This year’s trade fair will also bring together key business players from other ASEAN countries. We aim to highlight market and investment opportunities for globally competitive products, as well as strategies to escalate private sector participation in integration initiatives of the two growth triangles into the ASEAN market,” said Antonino.
She added that the four-day activity is also a commemorative celebration of BIMP-EAGA’s 20th this year. BIMP-EAGA was launched in 1994 in Davao City as a key strategy to accelerate social and economic development of less developed areas in participating countries.
IMT-GT was formed in 1993 with similar goals of promoting trade, investment, and tourism in less-developed states and provinces in Sumatra, Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, and Southern Thailand. Both sub-regional groups aim to harness private sector leadership in initiatives to promote cross-border investments and improve connectivity. (MinDA/PIA-Caraga)