MACTAN, CEBU-- Infrastructure spending meant to further strengthen regional connectivity within the ASEAN plus the benefits of such investments to the sustainable growth of the region's 10 member-economies had taken center stage in this year's 12th session of the ASEAN Finance Ministers Investors Seminar (AFMIS).
The AFMIS was held at the Shangri-La Mactan Hotel last Thursday (April 6).
A plenary session of the ASEAN finance ministers was held in the morning, followed by a networking lunch with global financial institutions and multilateral companies that have a strong presence in the region.
The afternoon was devoted to AFMIS breakout sessions, including one that discussed infrastructure investments as a vehicle for sustainable growth in the region amid current global market volatilities.
Three more breakout sessions separately tackled prospects for e-commerce as a new business frontier for ASEAN, trade facilitation and cooperation in the regional bloc, and the rising consumer market in the region's economies.
In the breakout session on infrastructure investments, keynotes speeches were delivered by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade of the Philippines and Dr. Supee Teravaninthorn, Director General of the Investment Operations Department of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Yingxin Gao, executive vice president of the Bank of China Group moderated the session.
Among the panelists at the infrastructure forum are: Colin Chen, deputy general manager of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd.; Yin Zaw Myo, managing director, Myanmar Economic Bank; Luo Yang, managing director, Silk Road Fund Co. Ltd.; Boonchai Charassangsomboon, international economic advisor, Fiscal Policy Office, Ministry of Finance of Thailand; Jose Maria Lim, president and CEO, Metro Pacific Investment Corporation; and Mr. Yee Ping Yi, deputy secretary (policy), Ministry of Finance of Singapore.
ASEAN finance ministers exchanged views on further harnessing investment opportunities within the 10-member regional bloc amid the current slowdown in global growth during the AFMIS.
They discussed the progress of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which is designed to create a single market and production base within ASEAN through the free flow of goods, skilled labor, services and investments among its 10 member-states.
The whole-day event commenced with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III of the Philippines, this year's ASEAN host, and ASEAN Deputy Secretary General Lim Hong Hin delivering their respective welcome remarks.
Finance Ministers Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Ibrahim of Brunei Darussalam; Sri Mulyani Indrawati of Indonesia; Johari Abdul Ghani of Malaysia; Apisak Tantivorawong of Thailand; and Secretary of State Sokha Nguon of Cambodia attended the AFMIS and the series of high-level meetings at the Shangri-La Mactan Hotel.
ASEAN, which was founded 50 years ago, groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
It established the AEC, which officially commenced on Dec. 31, 2015, comprising a market of 600 million people or about eight percent of the world's population.
ASEAN is the seventh largest economy in the world with a combined GDP of US$ 2.5 trillion as of 2015. It also has the third largest labor pool and is the world's fourth largest exporting region.
This year marks a milestone for the ASEAN, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary with the Philippines as host. The 2017 ASEAN theme is Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.
Source: Philippines Information Agency