Given the impending ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, two dynamic sub-regional groupings have once again converged to strengthen cross-border trade and promote links for tourism, trade, and investments.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Prudencio Reyes Jr., and also the Philippine Senior Official to BIMP-EAGA said, “The Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia Philippines – East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and the Indonesia Malaysia Thailand – Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) have strengthened efforts to align their respective interests, programs and initiatives to increase their contribution to ASEAN integration. And conducting this year’s trade fair and conference is just part of these efforts.”

The two sub-regions bring together another feat in sub-regional cooperation by staging the second Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia Philippines – East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA & IMT-GT) Trade Fair and Business Leaders’ Conference this 2014.

Adopting the theme “Realizing the Opportunities of ASEAN Integration,” this trade fair and conference was hosted by the Philippines on 23-26 October at the SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier, Davao City.

This convergence initiative provided the strategic venue for exhibitors, business leaders, as well as key public and private sector representatives from the two sub-regions and its development partners to forge greater partnerships, and realize the opportunities of ASEAN integration.

The one-day conference on 23 October gathered leaders of key government, business, and partner organizations within and outside the ASEAN region to share experiences, best practices,and lessons learned in growing businesses/ industries through innovation and integration. This will provide a venue for discussing the gains, challenges and way forward for BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT particularly in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by ASEAN integration by 2015 through integration of trade, investment and tourism initiatives.

While the trade fair ran for three days from 24-26 October that will showcase the unique food, agro-based, fisheries, wood-based and tourism products and services from the pavilions of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Some 250 exhibitors in the trade fair, 700 participants in the conference, and a substantial number of stakeholders and the general public are expected to attend the event activities.

First slated in Melaka, Malaysia in 2012, this year’s sub-regional convergence seeks to broaden the platform for showcase of unique products and services while seizing the possibilities of exploring and tapping new market links within and outside ASEAN.