|Date||:||April 06, 2017|
|Agency||:||Department of Finance|
|Title||:||OPENING REMARKS 12th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ Investor Seminar (AFMIS)|
12th ASEAN Finance Ministers’
Investor Seminar (AFMIS)
Carlos G. Dominguez
Secretary of Finance
April 6, 2017
Welcome to the Island of Mactan. We want first to thank our gracious hosts, the people of Mactan, Cebu, for hosting this wonderful meeting. As you know, Cebu is not blessed with large tracts of alluvial plains that are conducive to agriculture, but that was a blessing in disguise because it forced the Cebuanos to develop a very strong trading culture.
Therefore, I think it is very apt that the ASEAN, which is developing a strong economic cooperation among ourselves, is being held in an area which is one of the main trading areas in the Philippines. It is here that we have learned that commercial cooperation brings economic prosperity to our people.
The Philippines is host to all the meetings of the ASEAN this year. It is for us a very happy task. More extensive cooperation and more intensive integration have been beneficial to the economies of this dynamic region. All our economies are driven to a large extent by trade. The ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) provided us a framework for dramatically increasing intra-regional trade and investments. This allowed us to negotiate as a bloc with the larger trading economies around us through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Over the longer term, we envision an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) that will provide a strong driver for growth among ourselves and global growth.
An ASEAN Economic Community provides a strong market of 600 million people. Our 300 million-strong labor force is young, talented and dynamic. Our governments are convinced that globalization is the way to progress. Our economies have much headroom for rapid expansion, beginning from a massive infrastructure build-up that will bring our region increased efficiency.
Towards realizing an ASEAN Economic Community, we are promoting e-commerce in the region, pooling resources to develop the infrastructure we need, facilitating trade and supporting each other’s rising expanding consumer markets. We have developed a Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and a detailed AEC Blueprint 2025. In less than a decade, we aspire to build a truly dynamic regional economy.
The regional economy we envision is a truly ambitious undertaking that will require massive investments. But we have momentum and opportunity on our side. The support of the investor community will be indispensable for this undertaking to succeed.
We will be happy to discuss with the investor community the detailed plans being considered by the ASEAN. We will be receptive to your insights. We will be immensely pleased to discuss investment opportunities with you today.
Let us now get to work.