In the Joint Statement issued at the end of the 13th BIMP-EAGA SUMMIT, the leaders of members' countries said they had engaged in fruitful deliberations to reaffirm the aspirations of the BIMP- EAGA founding fathers. The 19 points joint statement among other things underlined various significant gains since the formation of BIMP-EAGA 25 years ago. One of them was the impressive economic expansion with BIMP-EAGA's GDP reaching 287.3 billion US dollars. The annual GDP growth was 5.7 percent. Tourism remains vibrant with total tourist arrivals growing at an average rate of 6.6%, reaching 88.2 million in 2017.
According to the Joint Statement, as they enter a new era of cooperation, the BIMP-EAGA members endeavour to build on the success of the past 25 years, and consider the way forward for the sub-region becoming more resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and economically competitive. In the BIMP- EAGA Vision 2025 endorsed at the previous Summit, several matters had been identified as strategic priorities for BIMP-EAGA, among them, to effectively address connectivity gaps; support the growth of the agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing sectors and to deepen economic cooperation.
Meanwhile, during the implementation period of Priority Infrastructure Projects (PIPs), estimated to be 22.7 billion US dollars, 16 out of the 69 PIPs have been completed with an estimated value of 1.2 billion US dollars, 15% are nearing completion and 62% are in various stages of implementation. BIMP-EAGA also urges national and local agencies to work towards more expeditious and successful implementation of the PIPs for the benefit of the people of BIMP-EAGA.
BIMP-EAGA is also committed to transform BIMP-EAGA transport networks into economic corridors besides strongly supporting area-based cooperation in priority points along the economic corridors to attract trade, tourism and investment.
BIMP- EAGA member countries also firmly believe that traditional trade links will continue as a main driver of their cooperation in promoting livelihoods and commercial exchanges in our sub-region. The signing of the ASEAN Memorandum of Understanding on the Improvement of Safety Standards and Inspection for Non-Convention Ships within ASEAN Member States, as well as the adoption of the Guidelines for Safety Standards for Non-Convention Ships will facilitate and promote cross-border maritime safety, expand maritime trade.
Source: Radio Television Brunei