DAVAO CITY, Oct 25 (PIA) Former President Fidel V. Ramos lauded East Asean Growth Area members namely Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and the growth triangle involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand for the gains achieved in the areas of the economy, culture and arts, twenty years since the polygon was established.
Speaking at the press briefing on the opening day of the 2nd BIMP-EAGA & IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders’ Conference, he said the cooperation forged among these countries and their combined population of more than 600 million ascertain the posture that as one, they can be a strong trading partner by any country in the world.
He said that the East Asean Growth polygon expands with the inclusion of the Northern and Western territories of Australia.
“Given its expanding membership, it is now a great challenge for all member countries to improve the business opportunities and industries they can offer to their trading partners,” Ramos said.
Secretary Lualhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority bared that the distance of the Philippines to other EAGA-member countries remains a challenge given its distance.
She said the Philippines can be reached fast only by plane.
Antonino said the country works with Indonesia and Malaysia towards the restoration of the Manado, Indonesia-Philippine flight and the Sandakan, Malaysia to Zamboanga City sea travel.
Antonino also cited the gains of the partnership among its trading partners in the EAGA, particularly in agriculture, technical vocational education and halal food production.
Datu Razali Ibrahim, Malaysian Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister Department urged member countries to avoid business competition and instead help one another in enhancing their respective industries.
EAGA was founded in 1994 in Davao City, the socio-economic and cultural hub in Mindanao. (PIA 11-Joey Sem G. Dalumpines)