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Business

EAGA reconnects with Australia’s Northern Territory

The Philippine Star

DAVAO CITY, Philippines  – Component nations of the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia and the Philippines – East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) geo-economic grouping will reconnect their ties with Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) by deepening cooperation among mutually agreed areas.

The four EAGA countries and the Northern Territory of Australia committed to further deepen cooperation and ensure that concrete results are achieved within the year as well as efforts to develop the Plan of Action for the BIMP-EAGA and Northern Territory Cooperation for 2016 to 2020.

EAGA representatives, together with Peter Styles, NT Minister for Asian Engagement and Trade, agreed to reconnect and focus cooperation on tourism, small and medium enterprises, socio-cultural, and education initiatives.

The EAGA and NT agreed to explore possible collaboration between and among the academe and research institutions of the two regions. The ministers also agreed to promote cooperation among universities and technical institutions in developing academic and professional human resource.

Programs and activities that involve students and the youth which promote educational, social, sports, and cultural exchanges between EAGA and NT were also encouraged by the ministers in support to EAGA’s newly adopted Socio-Cultural and Education pillar.

“We also agreed to explore the development of a student exchange program focusing on areas of commonality under the Australian Awards program,” said Antonino who participated in this year’s Australia Awards fellowships with 12 other government officials and private sector representatives in Cairns and Brisbane.

The Awards program is part of Australia’s commitment to advancing priority foreign affairs and shared development goals. It is also designed to help strengthen partnerships and develop capacities so that individual fellows can advance key development issues in their home country and region.

 In expanding trade with NT, the ministers urged the private sector to take active role in establishing networks and cooperation with counterparts from Australia such as NT’s chambers of commerce.

To push for a more robust tourism exchange between EAGA and NT, the ministers jointly agreed to promote and market the two regions as eco-tourism destinations. A sharing of best practices on tourism development was also agreed during the meeting.

“In recognition to the rich heritage, cultures and traditions of the BIMP-EAGA and NT, the signing ministers encourage collaboration to develop socio cultural activities that can contribute to building strong foundation for greater understanding and good neighborliness,” added Antonino.

She said the ministers also agreed to cooperate and collaborate on arts, heritage, and culture to foster deeper understanding, appreciation, and preservation of culture and history of EAGA and NT.

Australia’s NT offers vast opportunities for trade and business with BIMP-EAGA particularly in the oil and gas industry, agribusiness, and socio-cultural exchanges due to the two regions’ proximity. In 2004, NT became EAGA’s development partner, 10 years after the launch of the sub-region.

ACIRC AGREED ANTONINO ASIAN ENGAGEMENT AND TRADE AUSTRALIA AWARDS AUSTRALIAN AWARDS BRUNEI DARUSSALAM INDONESIA MALAYSIA AND THE PHILIPPINES CAIRNS AND BRISBANE EAGA GROWTH AREA NORTHERN TERRITORY
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