The Philippines has endorsed a call to conduct a supply chain study between a sub-regional economic group and Australia’s Northern Territory (NT), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.
In a statement, the DTI said the Philippines, as part of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), is pushing for the start of the supply chain study that would evaluate the trade between BIMP-EAGA and the NT.
At the recently concluded 4th Darwin Dialogue last April 27 in Australia, ministers and senior officials of BIMP-EAGA and NT supported the preparation of a preliminary scoping report of the planned supply chain study, which is seen to benchmark current goods and supply channels from BIMP-EAGA into and out of Australia.
The ministers and senior officials said this study would identify potential regional and global supply chain opportunities that will promote inclusive growth within BIMP-EAGA and NT.
“This study is extremely relevant as we aim to strengthen EAGA’s trade relations with the NT government,” said Trade Undersecretary Prudencio M. Reyes Jr., who represented the Philippines in the dialogue.
He explained that the supply chain study supports initiatives under the Plan of Action for BIMP-EAGA and Northern Territory Cooperation for 2016-2020, which identified priority areas of cooperation including education, trade and investment, tourism, agriculture, connectivity, and health.
“Data on the kind of industry, products, commodities, and services are necessary to actualize the intention to engage business and trade between the two areas, and to determine the viable routes that could provide direct access for both sea and air transport systems,” Reyes said, adding that the “initial outcomes of the study will be presented during the next EAGA and NT Ministerial Meeting.”
Aside from the prospective supply chain study — which will be supported by key NT organizations such as the Australian Agency for International Development — the complementation of BIMP-EAGA and NT regions are also exploring the development of the BIMP-EAGA cattle industry through the help of the NT.
Australia is known for its well-developed cattle industry and the country is considered as one of the world’s largest exporters of quality livestock. It exported more than 1.2 million heads of live beef cattle in 2014, valued at over P47. 7 billion FOB. Darwin — which is located in the Northern Territory — is Australia’s largest live export port with shipments that reached more than 541,000 heads in the same year.
Reyes said the possible complementation would allow players from the Philippines and EAGA to study and replicate the best practices of NT’s cattle industry.
During the dialogue, the Philippine delegation suggested possible partnerships in the establishment of training centers within EAGA on breeding, pasture management, abattoir operations, and marketing. This is seen to facilitate exchange of technology among the EAGA member countries and NT.
The Philippine delegation to the 4th Darwin Dialogue was composed of DTI Undersecretary Reyes, Director Romeo Montenegro and Jonathan Miral of the Mindanao Development Authority, and Charlie Uy of the Philippine Airlines.
Established in 1994, BIMP-EAGA is a sub-regional economic initiative aimed to address the socioeconomic development gaps within and across the sub-region. Ten years after its launch, NT became EAGA’s development partner. It 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.