Agreed minutes of inaugural ministerial meeting of the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA)

Agreed Minutes of Inaugural Ministerial Meeting of the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA)

26 MARCH 1994


1. Pursuant to the consultations among the Heads of Governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, the establishment of a growth area involving Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines was agreed upon by their respective governments. This growth area shall be comprised of Brunei Darussalam; the provinces of East and West Kalimantan and North Sulawesi in Indonesia; Sabah, Sarawak, and Labuan in Malaysia, and Southern Philippines. As a follow-up, the Inaugural Meeting of the Ministers of the participating countries was held in Davao City, Philippines on 26 March 1994.

2. The Brunei Delegation was led by H.E. Pehin Dato’ Abdul Rahman Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources. The Indonesian Delegation was led by H.E. Hartarto Coordinating Minister for Industry and Trade. The Malaysian Delegation was led by H.E. Tun Daim Zainuddin, Minister Coordinating the Growth Triangle Project for Malaysia. The Philippine Delegation was led by H.E. Rizalino S. Navarro, Secretary of Trade and Industry. The list of delegates appears as Annex A.*


3. In his welcoming address, H.E. Rizalino S. Navarro, Secretary of Trade and Industry of the Philippines, welcomed this historic meeting which promises to be a rebirth of the growth area to its glorious past and progressive future. In behalf of the Philippine government, he thanked Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and Malaysia in accelerating the process towards the speedy establishment of a growth area in this region. He noted the tremendous tasks ahead for the new cooperative endeavor. However, what would guide the Ministers and what has guided the Senior Officials who met in the past two days are the success of the two sub-regional initiatives: the SIJORI Triangle and the Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT).

4. Secretary Navarro expressed appreciation for the cooperation of participant countries and the preparatory work of the Senior Officials who agreed, among others, on a framework and mechanism for cooperation in the form of a recommended sets of detailed and integrated proposals which establishes the implementing and consultative mechanism including the crucial role of private sector and non-participating countries and/or entities. They have identified four (4) sectors for immediate and advanced implementation and fourteen (14) potential sectors for cooperative efforts. Finally, Secretary Navarro stated that for the Ministers, Senior Officials and the private sector, the challenge is the more important task of implementation of the visions, programs, and projects in the Growth Area. The welcoming address appears as Annex B.*


5. In his opening remarks, H.E. Hartarto expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Philippine government for a well-organized and eventful meeting as well as for its warm and gracious hospitality. He cautioned that the Growth Area comprising the designated sub-regions of the four countries may lack apparent factors that could facilitate growth, but he expressed his admiration to the striking features of the Growth Area in terms of its beauty, the richness of its soil and natural resources, and the strong ties on language, culture, religion, and trade among its population that extends back for ages. If it could be complemented by deepening its infrastructures and development of its human resources, and by harmonizing the rules, procedures and policies for an unobstructed flow of factors across national borders, the exploitation of these resources could be enhanced and accelerated. In his opinion, the biggest challenge confronting the cooperation in this sub-region, is how to make the Growth Area competitive in attracting capital investments from the outside. H.E. Hartarto identified a number of areas where immediate collaborative efforts could be undertaken, such as: tourism, agriculture, agro-industry, trade, and energy. For an in-depth study on the Growth Area Project, he endorsed that an exhaustive investigative study be undertaken.

He took note of the activities and initiatives taken by the private sector in the sub-region, and reiterated the important role of the private sector as the engine of growth of the Growth Area. The opening remarks appear as Annex C.*

6. H.E. Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources of Brunei, in his opening statement, stated that members need to put their full commitment and adopt a practical and pragmatic approach that will send clear signals and directions to the private sector in order that it can be confident in taking bolder steps to achieve worthwhile results. He suggested that concrete steps be taken to facilitate and support stronger and continuing interactions and cooperation between the private sector. The Minister stated that the development of infrastructure in the field of transportation and communications is the prerequisite foundation for growth in the area. In this regard, Brunei Darussalam fully endorses the immediate consideration for the promotion and the development of air, sea, and telecommunication linkages. Brunei Darussalam believes that such development would help to facilitate and enhance the movement of people, goods and services within the sub-region and will generate earlier momentum in the process towards developing the growth area. He further added that Brunei Darussalam’s strategic location in South East Asia, in particular within the growth area and with her modern telecommunication, airport and seaport facilities, would conveniently serve as a gateway to international linkages for this growth area. The opening remarks appear as Annex D.*

7. Recognizing the increasing globalization of the world economy and the strong current moving the developed world towards greater regionalism, especially the developments in EU and NAFTA, H.E. Tun Daim Zainuddin of Malaysia advised ASEAN nations to be very conscious of the danger of these new waves of regionalism transforming themselves into trade blocs. Therefore, H.E. Tun Daim said that Malaysia has always pushed for increased collaboration among ASEAN counties under ASEAN and EAEC. Realizing that AFTA is a long-term goal to be attained, the experience of SIJORI and IMT-GT seemed to indicate that collaboration on a sub-national basis appeared easier to establish and likely to be successful. H.E. Tun Daim commended President Fidel Ramos for his vision of the BIMP-EAGA which has much to offer and has development potential, which would benefit the Philippines as well as the other two partners. H.E Tun Daim also noted that the future economic outlook for BIMP-EAGA seems very bright. He informed the meeting that in responding positively to the BIMP-EAGA idea, Malaysia is fully aim to the political differences that Malaysia has with her prospective partners, in particular with the Philippines. But, political differences should not mar the cooperative efforts in developing further avenues for collaboration, so long as such intensified cooperation and collaboration will enable the countries to leap-frog together into higher tempo of sustained development. Recent developments showed that the relationship among the four countries improved tremendously. H.E. Tun Daim felt that the success of BIMP-EAGA greatly depends on the clear and workable framework, a proper plan as well as effective and adjustable strategy and programs. BIMP-EAGA needs a strong and dynamic private sector. It is the private sector’s response to market forces that will cement trade and investment links in the neighbouring sub-regions. The Government’s role as the facilitator is also important to establish a secured economic region and improved investment environment so that private ventures can actively participate.


8. The Meeting elected H.E. Rizalino S. Navarro, Secretary of Trade and Industry of the Philippines, as Chairman of the Meeting.


9. The Meeting adopted the agenda which appears as Annex F.*


10. The Meeting was held both in Plenary and in Closed Session.


11. The Ministers considered the Agreed Minutes of the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) and endorsed the recommendations therein, as follows:

(A) Name of the Growth Area

12. The Ministers took note of the discussion in the Senior Officials Meeting and agreed that the growth area shall officially be referred to as the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia The Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

(B) Terms of Reference for an Investigative Study for the Development of the Growth Area

13. The Ministers approved the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Investigative Study for the Development of the Growth Area.

14. The Ministers agreed that Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines would submit the request to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) within two weeks of this Inaugural Ministerial Meeting. Brunei Darussalam will participate in this study in a manner mutually acceptable to it and the Bank.

15. The Ministers also agreed that joint efforts be made to ensure that the ADB Study be completed at the earliest possible time. Towards this end, all concerned agencies at the central and local government levels shall provide the necessary support and cooperation to ADB.

16. The Ministers further agreed on the modus operandi as contained in the Agreed Minutes of the Senior Officials Meetings.

17. The Ministers requested the Philippines to negotiate with the ADB for the speedy approval and conduct of the Investigative Study.

(C) Areas and Potential Fields of Cooperation

18. The areas covered under the BIMP-EAGA for each participating country may be modified by the countries concerned.

19. The Ministers agreed that close cooperation be promoted in the following fields as identified by the Senior Officials:


(a) transport and shipping services;
(b) fisheries;
(c) joint tourism development;
(d) agriculture and horticulture;
(e) energy exploration and development (gas, geothermal, coal, hydro, and oil);
(f) environmental protection and management;
(g) forestry and timber products;
(h) human resources development;
(i) industry;
(j) institutional arrangements;
(k) joint infrastructure network links;
(l) natural resources development;
(m) services; and
(n) trade and investment.

20. In order to facilitate the implementation of close cooperation in the above-mentioned fields, the Ministers further agreed that necessary steps be taken to:

(a) make available capital and banking services needed for the development of the Growth Area;
(b) facilitate the movement of people within the Growth Area;
(c) facilitate the exchange of advisers, experts, and technicians; and
(d) minimize and where possible remove legal constraints and administrative barriers

(D) Projects Identified for Immediate Implementation

21. Cooperation plans and activities in the following sectors were identified for advanced and accelerated implementation:

(a) Expansion of Air Linkages;
(b) Expansion of Sea Linkages, Transport and Shipping Services;
(c) Expansion of Fisheries Cooperation; and
(d) Joint Tourism Development.


22. In this connection, the Ministers endorsed the recommendations of the Senior Officials to convene ad hoc working groups to determine and implement these programs of action.

23.To accelerate growth in the BIMP-EAGA, the Ministers endorsed the following possible fields of cooperation which were recommended by the Senior Officials be go be given priority consideration:

People Mobility Indonesia
Environmental Protection and Management Brunei Darussalam
Energy Malaysia
Construction and Construction Materials Philippines
Telecommunications Brunei Darussalam
Human Resources Development Malaysia
Agro-Industry Philippines
Capital Formation and Financial Services Malaysia
Forestry Indonesia

(E) Private Sector Participation

24. The Ministers emphasized the crucial role and participation of the private sector in accelerating the successful implementation of the BIMP-EAGA programs and projects.

25. In this regard, the Ministers endorsed the establishment of a private sector BIMP-EAGA Business Council.

(F) Bilateral and Non-Participating Country Arrangements

26. The Meeting agreed that cooperation within the BIMP-EAGA should not be limited to quadrilateral arrangements. Any two or three participants could always initiate cooperative arrangements which will be recognized as part of the BIMP-EAGA cooperation. Cooperative arrangements between participating and non-participating country/ies or organizations will be considered as part of the programs and projects in the BIMP-EAGA. Any participating country could always join in the projects if and when it is ready.

(G) Implementing Mechanism

27. The Ministers further agreed that each member country establish a High Level Council under the Chairmanship of a Minister to be responsible for the BIMP-EAGA. The mechanism for consultation between the participating countries in the BIMP-EAGA shall be the Ministers and Senior Officials meeting on dates and in venues to be agreed upon by them. A meeting of the BIMP-EAGA Business Council shall be held parallel to the SOM and Ministerial Meetings.

28. Furthermore, the Ministers agreed to the designation of a Ministry or agency in the individual countries which shall serve as the focal point for the exchange of information and coordination of programmes related to the BIMP-EAGA.


29. The Meeting agreed that the Second Ministerial Meeting would be hosted by Indonesia in Manado on 24 September 1994, which shall be preceded by a SOM on 22-23 September 1994.

30. In their closing remarks, the Ministers reaffirmed their Governments’ full support for the BIMP-EAGA.

31. The delegations of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and Malaysia expressed their appreciation to the Government to the Republic of the Philippines for the warm hospitality extended to them and the excellent arrangements made for the Meeting.

Done in Davao City, Philippines on 26 March 1994.

H.E. Pehin Dato’Abdul Rahman Taib
Minister of Industry and Primary
Brunei Darussalam
H.E. Hartarto
Coordinating Minister for
Industry and Trade
H.E. Tun Daim Zainuddin
Minister Coordinating the Growth
Triangle Project for Malaysia
H.E. Rizalino S. Navarro
Secreatry for Trade and
Industry Philippines


*All annexes mentioned in the document are not included in this compilation.

Source: The Philippine Claim to a Portion of North Borneo