ASEAN pushes for investment action agenda during PHL hosting

MANILA-- A landmark document on increasing investments among ASEAN member states is being pushed during the ASEAN chairmanship of the Philippines this year.

In a statement Thursday, Philippine Head of Delegation to the Coordinating Committee on Investments (CCI) Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa said ASEAN CCI identified the Focused and Strategic Action (FAST) Action Agenda as its priority deliverables for the year.

The FAST Action Agenda aims to boost intra-ASEAN investments while strengthening linkages between micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and multinational enterprises (MNEs).

The FAST Action Agenda anchors its goals to the four pillars of ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) which include investment promotion, facilitation, protection, and liberalization.

First, the document aims for an ASEAN-wide assessment of the outstanding issues on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS).

It targets to identify TRIMS elements that the member states may adopt and commit as negotiating strategy of ASEAN.

Second, the action agenda is pushing for MSMEs and MNEs partnership through letters of intent for business collaboration.

Under this target, the Philippines will host an ASEAN outbound mission to promote investments in the region and facilitate business matching.

"Our goal is to showcase MSMEs as possible suppliers of products and services to MNEs. As we encourage them to strategically enhance their productivity, we will open up more opportunities for them to participate in the regional and global value chains," said Halili-Dichosa, who is also an executive director of the Board of Investments.

Third, the action plan eyes an assessment for the establishment of ASEAN Investment Tribunal, given that the economic bloc has forged various investment pacts in order to have consistency in the interpretation of these agreements.

Fourth, CCI aims for an in-depth evaluation on business registration requirements among the 10 member states in line with the investment facilitation goal of ACIA.

"Ease of doing business through facilitation of business registration in any ASEAN Member States (AMS) will significantly contribute in making the region a more attractive investment destination. An in-depth assessment of the business registration requirements of AMS will support and contribute to ACIA's key objectives of increasing intra-ASEAN investments," Halili-DichoCsa noted.

Intra-ASEAN investments or investment flows within the 10 member states rose 18.5 percent to USD22.2 billion in 2015. This growth accelerated from 2014 at rate of 17 percent.

Meanwhile, Manila hosted the 69th CCI Meeting from Feb.20 to 22.

Source: Philippines News Agency