The Philippines could become a gateway to Southeast Asia when the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) pushes through with market integration in 2015, a Cabinet official last week said.
“We in the Philippines look forward to ASEAN integration in 2015. Our hope is that the Philippines will be the Northern and Pacific gateway to ASEAN,” Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said during Standard Chartered’s Singapore Forum 2013.
“The Aquino administration is committed to ensuring that we continue to invest in infrastructure, our people, and address the constraints to growth to ensure that our people are ready to take full advantage and be part of an integrated ASEAN,” Mr. Purisima added.
The Finance chief noted that integration would help ASEAN tap its potentials.
“The ASEAN demographic places the region in a very strong position for growth. It is important that ASEAN integrates because our collective strengths are more formidable than our individual competencies,” he said.
The region, he added, collectively makes up the world’s third largest population behind China and India.
“The region’s population is also one of the youngest in the world, with an average age of 27, which put the region at an advantage versus the rest of the world.”
ASEAN is currently pursuing regional market integration through various commitments that are targeted to be completed by 2015.
Initiatives towards the creation of an ASEAN Economic Community include the lowering of trade barriers, capital markets integration and greater information sharing, among others.