Category : Press Release
Date : April 07, 2017
Agency : Department of Finance
Title : AFMIS Closing Dinner Toast by Sec. Dominguez
Article : Carlos G. Dominguez
Secretary of Finance
AFMIS Closing Dinner
April 6, 2017
Mactan, Cebu

Honorable ASEAN finance ministers; central bank governors; development partners; dear friends and colleagues; honored guests; ladies and gentlemen:

When the founding fathers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) came together fifty years ago, I bet they did not imagine the extent of regional integration we have achieved today.

Five decades ago, Southeast Asia was a backwater region composed of newly independent nations. The region was divided along Cold War lines. We had very little trade between us, and much less investments across our borders. The old lines of colonial jurisdiction made us strangers to each other and each nation traded more with their former colonial masters.

Today is a much different time. Southeast Asia is an important node of growth for the global economy. Within the framework of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), we have increased intra-regional trade. We are well in the process of harmonizing our policies to further lay the groundwork for a regional economic community. We are, quite literally, building the infrastructure that will bring our economies closer together.

With the framework of cooperation provided by the ASEAN and the vision of an economic community in the near future, we have been able to tap the synergy of regionalism to each country’s benefit. The future bodes well for this region as we harness our talents and our good will to advance the region’s interests.

This century, they say, is Asia’s century. From where we stand, it will be more specifically a Southeast Asian century: the time we will see this region flourish to its full potential.

Let me propose a toast: first, to our forebears who dared imagine a regional community when there was nary a hint of it, and second, to all of us who work hard today to make that regional community real.