We, the Ministers/Vice Ministers of Communications/Transport from the ASEAN Member Countries and China, attended the ASEAN-China Port Development and Cooperation Forum with the theme of “Enhancing Regional Cooperation, Promoting Common Development”, which was held during the 4th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) in Nanning, China on 28th-29th October 2007 and jointly organized by the Ministry of Communications of China and the People’s Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. We had fruitful discussions and reached common ground on the port development and cooperation between the ASEAN Member Countries and China.
- We recalled the Memorandum of Understanding on ASEAN-China Transport Cooperation signed at the ASEAN-China Summit in Vientiane, Lao PDR, on 27th November 2004, which stated that both sides would carry out cooperation in the fields of planning, design, construction and maintenance of coastal and inland ports, transport facilitation, maritime safety, maritime security and maritime environment protection, among others.
- We also recalled that both sides agreed that there was the need to expand and consolidate the content of ASEAN-China transport cooperation as stated in the Joint Statement of the 5th ASEAN-China Transport Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, on 9th February 2007.
- We recognized that port is an important interface linking waterborne and land transport. Further, it serves as production base for industries and centre for distribution of products to the market. As such, port plays a vital role in trade and tourism development as well as distribution platform and an integral part of logistics and supply chain. Therefore, it is our common challenge to have our ports fully developed with highly efficient management to provide favorable conditions and quality services to transport, reduce transit time and logistic costs, improve production competitiveness, and promote trade and tourism development in the region.
- We further recognized that maritime transport is an important channel for the communication between ASEAN Member Countries and China, and the most important transport means for trade and tourism between ASEAN and China. Therefore, it is of great significance to strengthen the port development and cooperation in the region, aiming at ensuring and promoting the economic and trade growth of ASEAN and China.
- We noted with satisfaction that, after thorough consultations, the two sides had reached consensus on the final Draft of the ASEAN-China Maritime Transport Agreement, and agreed to submit this document for signing at the 6th ASEAN-China Transport Ministers’ Meeting to be held in Singapore on 2nd November 2007.
- We also noted with satisfaction the result of the friendly and constructive consultation with the spirit of win-win principle among ASEAN and China on the Draft of the Strategic Plan for ASEAN-China Transport Cooperation.
- We believe that strengthening the in-depth port cooperation between ASEAN Member Countries and China will deepen our transport cooperation in an all-round way, meet the requirements of the economic and trade development of both sides, and facilitate the early establishment and healthy development of ASEAN-China Free Trade Area.
Hereby, we agreed as follows:
- Ports play an important part in the comprehensive transport system, and are also the crucial link of the international logistics chain. Port cooperation is an inseparable part of the all-round transport cooperation. Therefore, we should consider and adopt the Strategic Plan for ASEAN-China Transport Cooperation as soon as possible, and sign the ASEAN-China Maritime Transport Agreement at the 6th ASEAN-China Transport Ministers’ Meeting, so as to develop the port cooperation plan of ASEAN and China and identify the top priority cooperation projects.
- In order to accelerate the port development and satisfy requirements of the economic development, there is a need to establish the ASEAN-China port coordination mechanism, aiming at an effective implementation of relevant cooperation activities.
- We encourage and support the port cooperation in the sub-regional groupings. The detailed cooperation will be discussed under the future Strategic Plan for ASEAN-China Transport Cooperation.
- We are committed to improving investment environment and developing the related facilitative policies, encouraging and supporting our enterprises to actively participate in the port infrastructure development of the other side, in accordance with the respective national laws, rules and regulations.
- We will continue to support the utilization of ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund to promote the human resources development, personnel training and technical and information exchanges in port construction and management via the joint organization of workshops, seminars or other forums.
- We will further explore the financing channels, including government investment, the financial assistance from international financial institutions and other financial agencies, as well as concession loans. We will also carry out cooperation in various ways to promote the improvement of port facilities.
- We will make joint efforts, under the framework of the International Maritime Organization, to further strengthen the cooperation in the fields of port state control, maritime safety and security and maritime environment protection.