ASEAN to benefit most from Belt and Road Initiative: Philippine finance chief

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-20 21:26:08|Editor: Xiang Bo
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MANILA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Southeast Asia will benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative, the Philippine finance chief said on Monday, adding the China-proposed initiative complements the intensive efforts of the 10-nation ASEAN to strengthen and build its intra-regional connectivity.

Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the ongoing economic integration of ASEAN and China's plan to invest heavily in its trading partners' infrastructure via its Belt and Road Initiative will shape the development of the region's economies.

"The nations of Southeast Asia stand to benefit hugely from the BRI," Dominguez told a forum, adding that the Belt and Road Initiative complements ASEAN's efforts at regionalization.

"It will help make regional integration and economic cooperation more intensive," he said.

Specifically, Dominguez said the Philippines will tremendously benefit from the initiative.

He said the economic strategy of the Duterte administration aims precisely to achieve high and equitable growth for its people through the modernization of infrastructure.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plans a 168-billion-U.S. dollar "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure campaign in his six-year term.

Dominguez said the "Build, Build, Build" program will ease the movement of people and goods, and encourage more investments.

"ASEAN's intensive efforts to integrate its economies and China's decision to invest heavily in infrastructure will shape the development of the region's economy through the length of this Asian Century," Dominguez said.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative was proposed by China in 2013 with the aim of building a trade, investment and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.

Intra-regional connectivity is crucial to the success of the ASEAN community. ASEAN plans to achieve a seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated Southeast Asia by 2025.

At the ASEAN summit held last week in Manila, China and ASEAN also vowed to further deepen the cooperation in infrastructure connectivity.

Both sides are looking at potential projects in areas such as railways, highways, port and harbors, airports, power, and communications, for better business and investment environment, vowing to support efforts to explore synergies between ASEAN's master plan of connectivity with that of China's Belt and Road Initiative.

KEY WORDS: Belt and Road