1. The Fourth ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM) Meeting was held in Singapore on 9-10 September 1998. The Meeting was preceded by the Sixth Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM) held on 7-8 September 1998.

2. The Fourth ATM Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr Mah Bow Tan, Minister for Communications for Singapore, with H.E. Mr Le Ngoc Hoan, Minister for Transport for Vietnam as Vice-Chairman. The Meeting was attended by H,E. Pehin Dato Haji Zakaria Sulaiman, Minister of Communications for Brunei Darussalam; H.E. Mr. Giri S. Hadihardjono, Minister of Communications for Indonesia; H.E. Mr Phao Bounnaphol, Minister of Communication, Transport, Post and Construction for Lao PDR; H.E. Datuk Wira Mohd. Ali Bin Mohd. Rustam, Deputy Minister of Transport Malaysia; H.E. Lt Gen. Tin Ngwe, Minister of Transport for Myanmar; H.E. Mr Vicente C. Rivera, Jr, Secretary of Transportation and Communications for the Philippines; and H.E. Mr Suthep Thaugsuban, Minister of Transport and Communications for Thailand; and their respective delegations, H.E. Rodolfo C. Severino Jr, ASEAN Secretary-General and staff of the ASEAN Secretariat were also in attendance.

Adoption of ASEAN Transport Facilitation Agreements

3. The Ministers concluded the Agreement on the Recognition of Commercial Vehicle Inspection Certificates of Goods Vehicles and Public Services Vehicles Issued by ASEAN Member Countries. The Ministers endorsed the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Goods in Transit which will be signed at the Sixth ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam on 15-16 December 1998. The Ministers agreed to having a separate ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Inter-State Transport, and directed the Senior Transport Officials to target the conclusion and operationalisation of the agreement by year 2000.

4. The signing of the Agreement and the endorsement of the ASEAN Framework Agreement by the ASEAN Transport Ministers are significant as they represent major milestones to facilitate and enhance trade and free flow of goods within the ASEAN region.

5. The Agreement on the Recognition of Commercial Vehicles Inspection Certificates of Goods Vehicles and Public Service Vehicles will facilitate cross-border movement of goods vehicles and public service vehicles. With this Agreement, ASEAN member countries will now recognise one another’s commercial vehicle inspection certificates. Public service and goods vehicle operators from ASEAN member countries will no longer require to send their vehicles for inspection checks before they enter another ASEAN member country.

6. The key objective of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Goods in Transit is to facilitate the movement of goods in transit amongst ASEAN countries. This includes the simplification of all transit transport procedures and requirements, and minimising of unnecessary delays or restrictions.

Implementation of the ASEAN Plan of Action in Transport (1996-1998)

7. The Ministers noted the completion of the integrated implementation programme for the ASEAN Plan of Action in Transport (1996-1998) (1) and were gratified with the overall achievements made by their senior transport officials in bringing about the completion of the Plan of Action.

Economic Crisis and its Impact

8. The Ministers exchanged views on current transport issues in ASEAN and in particular, on the impact of the current economic downturn in the ASEAN transport sector. le the present crisis has dampened demand for transport services and created adverse employment dislocations, the Ministers expressed confidence that the long-term prospects for the region remain positive.

9. Indeed, because of the crisis, the Ministers agreed that there was greater urgency to enhance the region’s economic competitiveness through closer economic co-operation. The Ministers agreed to explore various areas in which member countries could harness our relative strengths in transport infrastructure and facilities and complement each other in order to make maximum use of each countries’ strengths and resources and reap maximum benefits.

10. In s regard, the Ministers agreed on the following areas of co-operation;

  • To set up, on an urgent basis, a Task Force to look into the Y2K problem in Air Traffic Control and Airport Systems
  • To have the Working Group on Competitive Air Service Policy study in detail the liberalisation of Air Freight Services in ASEAN
  • To have the Working Group on Safety of Maritime Transport and Prevention of Pollution from Ships study in detail co-operation in maritime training
  • To form an ASEAN Cruise Working Group to look into the development of the ASEAN cruise industry
  • To have the Senior Transport Officials work with the ASFAN Port Association and other relevant organisations to strengthen port co-operation
  • To have the Senior Transport Officials look into sustainable urban transport development and road safety

Translating the ASEAN Transport Vision into Action

11. With the successful conclusion of the ASEAN Plan of Action in Transport, the Ministers directed the Senior Transport Officials to Formulate the Successor Plan of Action for the period of 1999-2004, The Successor Plan of Acfion wouldincorporate, amongst others, the various proposals to enhance ASEAN co-operation in transport that were discussed at the Meeting. This Plan of Action is targeted for completion in Aug 1999 and adoption at the Fifth ATM Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam in Sep 1999.

12. In considering the Successor Plan of Action, the Ministers adopted the Transport Action Agenda for the Hanoi Plan of Action to guide ASEAN co-operation in the Transport Sector in line with the operationalisation of the ASEAN Vision 2020.

13. The Ministers agreed to hold the Fifth ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM) Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, in Sep 1999.

14. The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN solidarity, cordiality and co-operation.

     1) The ASEAN Plan of Action in Transport and Communications was the result of the ASEAN Leaders’ call to “further enhance regional cooperation to provide safe, efficient and innovation transportation and communication infrastructure networks”. The Plan of Action was operationalised at the First ATM Meeting in Ball, Indonesia in Much 1996. An integrated implementation programme for the Plan of Action was adopted at the Second ATM Meeting in Chiang Mai in Feb 97 and is the single document for transport cooperation among ASEAN member countries for the period 1996-98. Lao PDR and Myanmar participated in STOM/ATM activities for-the Plan of Action in July 1997.