1. We, the Leaders of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines held a meeting today to discuss the development in the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines–East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). Our discussion primarily focused on reviewing the activities undertaken thus far by BIMP-EAGA, and determining the future direction of the development in the sub-region.
2. We reaffirmed the importance of BIMP-EAGA as a sub-regional growth area within the overall context of bridging the development gaps in ASEAN, and the importance of accelerating its economic development to improve the livelihood of its inhabitants, ensure the fair distribution of the benefits of growth, increase prosperity, and maintain security stability in the sub-region.
3. We noted the on-going progress in the sub-regional cooperation led by the private sector under the East ASEAN Business Council (EABC) and the support of regional governments by providing various investment incentives and trade facilitation schemes. To better respond to the needs of the private sector, we tasked our relevant ministers to develop more attractive trade and investment regimes, promote the development of external trade and undertake measures to eliminate trade impediments so as to reduce the cost of doing business in the BIMP-EAGA region.
4. We are determined to enhance BIMP-EAGA initiatives by strengthening the institutional set-up of the BIMP-EAGA sub regional cooperation. We therefore tasked our concerned ministers and senior officials to strengthen the coordinating mechanism of the BIMP-EAGA cooperation with the establishment of a BIMP-EAGA Facilitation Centre in Kota Kinabalu and by empowering national focal point institutions. We commended the Government of Malaysia for providing the support to the establishment of the Centre.
5. We agreed to pursue a more pragmatic approach in forging cooperation by initiating BIMP-EAGA flagship projects that will produce greater impact in the sub-region. We endorsed the recommendation of our ministers and senior officials to focus, among others, on cooperation in tourism, transportation, and agro-industry sectors, even as they continue to cooperate in other prime-mover sectors which reflect the strength of the sub-region.
6. We tasked our transport ministers to meet and take the lead in further promoting the development of land, air and sea linkages so as to encourage the flow of tourists, goods and services.
7. We acknowledged with appreciation the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), as the regional development advisor of BIMP-EAGA, and the ASEAN Secretariat, and requested their continued support for the formulation and implementation of the BIMP-EAGA development programmes in line with the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI).
8. We welcomed the support by the Plus 3 countries (China, Japan, Korea) in the development of BIMP-EAGA. Their participation in the future of the sub-region is will contribute towards achieving our long-term vision of an integrated East Asian Community. We also took note of the interest of the Northern Territory of Australia to establish close linkages and partnership with the BIMP-EGA region.