BSP’s plan to sign pact with Asean-5 to enhance trade

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is seen signing bilateral agreements under the Asean Banking Integration Framework (Abif) with the founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations—or Asean-5—as it prepares to touch base with its Singaporean counterpart this year.

Asean-5 refers to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

In a recent talk with reporters, Central Bank Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said the BSP will start talks with Singapore “in the next few months” under the Abif.

“We have not started talks yet with Singapore, but it might happen soon,” Tetangco said.

Abif provides the general principles for the entry of Qualified Asean Banks (QABs) from one Asean member-state to another.

In April the BSP and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) signed in Cebu the Declaration of Conclusion of Negotiations (DCN) on the entry of QABs between the two countries. Signing the declaration in behalf of their respective institutions were Tetangco and BNM Governor Muhammad bin Ibrahim.

“Finalizing this agreement between the BSP and BNM is an important step toward achieving the goal of the Abif to enhance intraregional trade and inclusive growth through QABs operating in host Asean jurisdictions,” Tetangco said.

The Philippines also signed in April letters of intent for bilateral discussions with Thailand, and with Indonesia in June.

Abif enjoins each Asean-5 country to hammer out at least one bilateral agreement with another Asean-5 countr y by 2018.

The framework also targets the conclusion or near conclusion of at least one bilateral agreement for each of the 10 Asean members by 2020.

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