Seize opportunities in AEC 2015, urges Trade Department


Seize opportunities in AEC 2015, urges Trade Department


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) gathered investors and businesses and encouraged them to take advantage of the many opportunities through the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015 and the free flow of investments in the region.

“Key to the transformation of ASEAN into a single market and production base is the free flow of investments. To seize the opportunities and challenges that the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) presents, the Philippine business community should understand the spirit and essence of the Agreement, be made aware of its benefits, and how to take advantage of its expansive possibilities,” Trade Undersecretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head Adrian Cristobal Jr. said in his keynote speech during a landmark forum held recently to discuss the agreement.

The ACIA combined and improved on the features of its predecessor agreements such as the ASEAN Investment Area (AIA) and the ASEAN Investment Agreement (AIG). The ACIA’s key features include facilitation, promotion, liberalization and protection of investments in the region which are tools seen to encourage and attract more foreign direct investments (FDIs) and intra-ASEAN investments.

The ACIA is an integral part of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which will be implemented in 2015. AEC seeks to realize economic integration in the ASEAN region characterized by its transformation into a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a regional equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into the global economy.

The ASEAN Investment Report of 2012 indicated that intra-ASEAN investment rose by 83% to $26.3 billion in 2011, which accounted for 23% of the region’s total FDI inflows as compared with the annual average of only 10% in 2000-2005 and 14% in 2006-2009.

Among the ASEAN Member States, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand remain the largest regional investors with significant intra-regional investment in manufacturing, finance, real estate and telecommunications. The CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Viet Nam) countries also continued to enjoy a high level of investment from other ASEAN countries in line with ASEAN’s efforts to narrow the development gap.

In the case of the Philippines, the country’s overseas investment remains marginal and the number of Philippine companies with overseas investment is limited when compared with the other ASEAN countries. Prominent Philippine companies with investments in the region include San Miguel Corporation, Jollibee, Universal Robina Corporation, Zesto Corporation and EEI Corporation. Based on the ASEAN Investment Report 2012, the total intra-ASEAN investment flow for the Philippines from 1995-2011 (16 years) is $1.6 billion (roughly $100 million/year) of the total $1.1 trillion.

In the forum, international speakers Dr. Julien Chaisse, Associate Professor of the Chinese University of Hongkong and Chief Legal Counsel to the World Trade Advisors;  Dr. Sufian Jusoh from the World Trade Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland,  and Ms. Anna Joubin Bret, International Investment Lawyer, Avocat a la Cour – Paris shared their experiences, insights and expertise, and discussed how ASEAN can be transformed into an Investment Hub through ACIA.

The forum is co-organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its investments policy and promotions arm—the Board of Investments (BOI), the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the ASEAN-Business Advisory Council Philippines, with support from the Australian Government through the ASEAN Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP), the World Trade Institute (WTI) and the ASEAN Secretariat.

This forum is the second ACIA Forum held in the region following the holding of a similar event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in March 2013. (END)