HSBC banking on BIMP-EAGA corridor toward AEC integration (Philippines News Agency)

HSBC Philippines and Indonesia begin exploring opportunities in the two huge consumer markets using the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) highway towards the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

This developed as the two Chief Executive Officers of HSBC, Wick Veloso of the Philippines and Sumit Dutta of Indonesia discussed the trends and developments in the region as the ASEAN integrates. Both CEOs see this is the best time to prepare for the AEC.

In a videoconference at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao and HSBC office in Jakarta Thursday, Veloso and Dutta exchanged notes on the dynamic growth and the rising affluence of the Philippines and Indonesian economies particularly where Mindanao’s role in generating business opportunities for HSBC customers not only in the country but elsewhere abroad. The roundtable videoconference was also attended by media from Davao and Jakarta.

The roundtable discussion focused on the potential impact of the AEC on the markets and the economies of ASEAN, particularly the opportunities it brings to the Philippines and Indonesia.

Veloso said Philippines and Indonesia have the edge with its strong consumption base to tap. They have the biggest consumerism in the ASEAN with combined population of 351 million. ASEAN, Veloso said, has a total population of 625 million.

In AEC, Veloso also sees a busier trading and travel in the BIMP corridor especially that the four participating economies have already established partnership. He also cited the tax-free travel that could spur movement between countries. With Philippines and Indonesia’s long-standing bilateral relationship, HSBC considered their role significant in leveraging the synergies and the economies of scale made possible by the ASEAN.

The BIMP corridor allows a good amount of trade interaction between two countries. We must start the process, Veloso said. He added that both countries can work together and make a lot of things happen.

HSBC is banking on its deep roots and wide network in the region, placing it in a strong position to work on the opportunities as the economy grows with the increasing trade and investment flows. It is present in 80 countries. It is helping businesses capitalize on new opportunities and help customers make informed decisions for the future by understanding the outlook of international trade.

These have lots of resources and they are the gateway to China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Veloso said.

Veloso noted the bullish economic outlook of the Philippines. Forecast for 2015 is at 5.9 percent growth and 6.1 percent in 2016. HSBC estimates the Philippines to be the 44th largest economy in the world. If current trend holds, the Philippines can leap it the 16th sport by 2050.

According to Veloso, there are many opportunities that can be explored by Indonesian investors – there’s the housing, power, water, health care and education

In Indonesia, Veloso said Filipinos can see opportunities on oil palm industry, coconut oil, rubber and tin. Indonesia’s priorities for investments are also areas of opportunities such as in electricity, labor intensive industries, tourism, maritime related industries.

There’s a rain of opportunity that we can jumpstart. We have the international connectivity so we have access to the world economies, Veloso said. (PNA)