Bangkok, Thailand – Leaders of the BIMP-EAGA sub-regional cooperation recognized the key milestones of the economic cooperation during the recently concluded 13th BIMP-EAGA Summit, held in conjunction with the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand.

In a joint statement, four country leaders Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, President Joko Widodo, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledge BIMP-EAGA’s success, primarily driven by the firm commitment, solidified historical, economic and cultural ties, and a shared vision of its member countries.

“We take pride in the sub-region’s transformation, which has resulted to stronger ties and broader gains in the past 25 years,” the statement adds.  

BIMP-EAGA has recorded an annual growth of 5.7 percent, with its gross domestic product reaching US$ 287.3 billion in 2017. The sub-region, according to the joint statement, also recorded a 21.5 percent growth in merchandise trade for the same year.

The signing of the ASEAN Memorandum of Understanding on the Improvement of Safety Standards and Inspection for Non-Convention Ships within ASEAN Member States last year is also seen to further propel maritime trade and safety in the sub-region.

“BIMP-EAGA remains to be a crucial development platform not just for the sub-region, but for the rest of the ASEAN,” said Sultan Bolkiah, who chairs this year’s meet.  

In the report presented to the leaders during the summit, 16 out of the 69 priority infrastructure projects (PIPs) amounting to an estimated value of US$ 22.7 billion are already completed. These projects include roads, railways, bridges, inland transport services, airports and seaports, power and energy infrastructure, among others.

“There is a need to increase air linkages for greater people mobility and cross-border trade,” added President Duterte. 

Duterte also urged his counterparts in the EAGA to work together in securing the sub-region's borders to counter threats of terrorism, piracy, and illegal drug trade. 

BIMP-EAGA stands for Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area, a sub-regional cooperation formed 25 years ago to accelerate development of member-countries’ focus areas through cross-border economic integration.

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