Council to draw Cebu, Davao into groundwork for Asean integration

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Monday, June 17, 2013


THE Asean Business Advisory Council (BAC) plans to bring in a series of road shows in Cebu and Davao within the year to boost awareness on the 2015 Asean integration.

Jay Yuvallos, Philippine representative to the Asean BAC, said business chambers like the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) have already adopted the Asean
Economic Community road show in all of their area business conferences.

The team also signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) last year to hold forums that would talk about the different topics of the integration.

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“We are starting to see different business chambers talking about Southeast Asian integration. We really have been busy in drumming up awareness,” Yuvallos told Sun.Star Cebu.

He said they are planning to unite all the business organizations to bring the road show to Cebu and Davao within the year.

Yuvallos admitted that various sectors of the country are not yet 100 percent prepared for the 2015 integration but stressed that awareness about what is going to happen, especially in the business sector, has been increasing.

The Asean BAC, which comprises three business leaders from each Asean economy, was formed in 2003 by the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to provide private sector feedback on economic cooperation. Asean wants to form an Asean Economic Community by the end of 2015, creating a single market and production base.

“We are more concerned about the MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) because big players can very well take care of themselves, so, what we are going to do is focus on the MSME sector and make them aware and competitive,” said Yuvallos.

He explained that the pillars of the Asean integration include the free flow of goods, investment, services, capital and people; competitiveness in the region; and the integration in the global supply chain.

“The year 2015 will only be the beginning of synergies. We should look at it as the start of so many beginnings because if we will look at it as a deadline, we will panic,” he said.

This week, the Asean BAC is set to hold consultations with the major business groups in Manila.

“We sell Asean as a market to compete with other economies, but again the Philippines has to step up to participate and be competitive because while the synergies are happening, people will look at each country as a destination in itself,” he said.

“Now is the best time to solidify our position,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 18, 2013.

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