29 November 2018

The 22nd Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Ministerial Meeting and Related Meetings was successfully held from 23rd to 26th November 2018 in Kuala Belait, Brunei Darussalam. The meeting was chaired by Dato Seri Setia Haji Erywan bin Pehin Yusof, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs, Brunei Darussalam. Malaysia’s delegation was led by YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin bin Ali, Minister of Economic Affairs.

YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin bin Ali was granted an audience with His Majesty Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Negara Brunei Darussalam on 26 October 2018. During the audience, His Majesty highlighted the importance of enhancing bilateral and economic cooperation between Brunei and Malaysia. His Majesty expressed hope that BIMP-EAGA Ministerial Meeting will have positive outcomes to strengthen the regional cooperation and could benefit the people in this subregion.

Over 200 senior government officials and delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Republic of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines attended the series of meetings to discuss achievements of BIMP-EAGA cooperation, progress of current programmes and projects, as well as to identify effective implementation measures towards achieving the set goals of BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025. BIMP-EAGA, among others, aims to narrow the development gaps and accelerate socioeconomic development in the subregion.

In addition, meetings were also held with BIMP-EAGA development partners, the Northern Territory of Australia and the People’s Republic of China. This is the first BIMP-EAGA and China Ministerial Meeting – a monumental step in strengthening regional cooperation between countries in this sub-region and China. During the meeting, Malaysia expressed that close economic cooperation with China is an important driver to strengthen the economy in the BIMP-EAGA subregion. China has been Malaysia’s top trading partner for nine consecutive years since 2009 and Malaysia continues to see China as an important strategic partner. YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad during his first official visit to China in August 2018 welcomed China’s proposal for enhanced cooperation in the BIMP-EAGA subregion.

Moving forward, BIMP-EAGA signing ministers agreed on the need to develop a Plan of Action to clearly identify the main economic activities that can enhance and further promote cooperation with China, based on the subregion’s strengths and competitive advantage. The priority areas of cooperation include connectivity; agriculture, fishery processing and food industry; tourism and socio-cultural exchanges; trade and investment; digital economy; poverty alleviation and inclusive development; human resource development; environment and power and energy.

BIMP-EAGA comprises of the entire sultanate of Brunei Darussalam; provinces of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua in Indonesia; the states of Sabah and Sarawak as well as the Federal Territory of Labuan in Malaysia; the island of Mindanao and the province of Palawan in the Philippines. With a combined population of 75.8 million and 1.6 million square kilometres land area, BIMP-EAGA represent a significant market for a robust economic growth in ASEAN. Malaysia continues its commitment in the economic integration, among others by enhancing the connectivity through the construction of infrastructure projects such as the Pan Borneo Highway, Mukah Airport and the expansion of Sepanggar Bay container port.

The EAGA GDP at current prices registered at US$287.3 billion, with an improvement in trade balance which rose to 39.2% at US$54.7 billion. The BIMP- EAGA trade in goods stood at US$102.7 billion in terms of GDP at current prices and total EAGA exports is at US$79 billion. Realised and approved investments reached US$13.92 billion in FDI and US$6.98 billion in domestic investment.

The Minister expressed the importance of regional cooperation to boost the economy. BIMP-EAGA subregion has huge market potentials and through networking, it will create the synergy and complementarity in creating a more dynamic economic growth and can contribute to promote Malaysia to once again rise as an ‘Asian Tiger’.

The 23rd BIMP-EAGA Ministerial Meeting and Related Meetings will be held in Kuching, Sarawak in November 2019. BIMP-EAGA will also celebrate its 25th anniversary and in conjunction, the Budayaw Festival will be held as part of the celebration.

Ministry of Economic Affairs