WE the undersigned, attending the Fifth ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting held in Hanoi, Vietnam on 15-16 September 1999;

RECALLING the following policy directives enunciated by the ASEAN Heads of State and Government :

  1. Manila Declaration of 1987 signed on 15 December 1987, which provided that the existing transportation system shall be strengthened to ultimately form an overall ASEAN transportation network;

  2. ASEAN Vision 2020 adopted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 15 December 1997, which resolved, inter alia, the development of an integrated and harmonized trans-ASEAN transportation network;

  3. Hanoi Plan of Action adopted on 15 December 1998, which provided for intensifying cooperation in the development of the trans-ASEAN transportation network as the trunkline or main corridor for the movement of goods and people in ASEAN, consisting of major road (interstate highway) networks, among others, and the development and implementation of the ASEAN Highway Network Project; and

  4. Hanoi Declaration of 1998 signed on 16 December 1998, which called for the development and strengthening of ASEAN regional infrastructure through the expansion of transport links and the provision of efficient and quality infrastructure.

RECALLING FURTHER our resolve under the Ministerial Understanding on ASEAN Cooperation in Transportation signed in Bali, Indonesia on 18 March 1996, to establish and develop a harmonized and integrated regional transportation system, promote interconnectivity and interoperability of national networks and access thereto, and strengthen and enhance existing cooperation efforts in the development of transport infrastructure;

NOTING the steady progress of the ongoing cooperation activities of the ASEAN Highway Experts and the Senior Transport Officials Meeting in the development of the ASEAN Highway Network Project;

REAFFIRMING our commitment at the Second ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting held in Chiang Mal, Thailand on 28 February 1997, to jointly develop a complete system of highway network to link ASEAN Member Countries together and where technical standards of design and road traffic safety are compatible; and

RECOGNIZING that the ASEAN Highway Network Project is a critical infrastructural support facility necessary for the greater and closer integration of the ASEAN region, as well as in the facilitation of regional trade, investment and tourism opportunities;


Article I

The objectives of this Ministerial Understanding on the Development of the ASEAN Highway Network Project are:

  1. To provide the institutional mechanism to formalize the strategic route configuration and the uniform technical design standards of the ASEAN Highway Network, being the major road (interstate highway) component of the overall trans-ASEAN transportation network;

  2. To formulate the ASEAN Highway Infrastructure Development Plan consisting of priority highway projects of regional significance, for funding and implementation through Official Development Assistance (ODA), project financing by the private sector or by joint public-private sector arrangement, or by the individual ASEAN Member Countries, as may be necessary;

  3. To promote cooperation with other international and regional organizations, so as to ensure technical compatibility of ASEAN’s road standards and road safety requirements and create stronger road transport links and connections within ASEAN and those with neighboring or adjoining regions; and

  4. To intensify cooperation in the facilitation of international road trafficthroughout the ASEAN region.

Article 2

  1. Member Countries shall adhere to the route configuration of the ASEAN Highway Network, the network details and designations of which are described in Annex A, which forms an integral part of this Ministerial Understanding, for the coordinated improvement and upgrading of their national road (interstate highway) routes of the ASEAN Highway Network.

  2. Member Countries shall conform to the recommended technical design standards and requirements set out in Annex B, which forms an integral part of this Ministerial Understanding.

Article 3

To foster the integrated and coordinated development and implementation of the ASEAN Highway Network Project, Member Countries shall intensify cooperative arrangements at the national, sub-regional and regional-levels through better management and optimum use of existing road transport infrastructure. Equal emphasis shall be accorded to adopting measures to improve the operational efficiency and reliability of international road transport. In this regard, Member Countries shall be guided by the following implementation arrangement.

  1. Member Countries shall endeavour to improve or upgrade their designated national road (interstate highway) networks, in line with the phased development timeframe, as follows :


    Completion Year

    Technical Requirement

    Stage 1


    Network configuration and designation of national routes to be completed

    Stage 2


    Road signs for all designated national routes to be installed. All designated national routes upgraded to at least Class III standards. All missing links to be constructed. All designated cross-border points to be operational.

    Stage 3


    All designated national routes upgraded to at least Class I or Primary Road standards. For low traffic volume non-arterial routes, the Class II standards are acceptable.

  2. Member Countries shall cooperate in the formulation of the ASEAN Highway Development Plan, to serve as the coordinated program for the medium-to long-ten-n implementation of the ASEAN Highway Network Project;

  3. Member Countries shall regularly exchange information on the implementation status and technical details of their designated national routes, route traffic volumes and forecasts, and other related road development plans and/or studies; and

  4. Member Countries shall jointly adopt harmonized measures to improve intermodal transport interconnectivity, interoperability and efficiency and to facilitate international road traffic in the ASEAN Highway Network.

Article 4

  1. The Senior Transport Officials Meeting shall be responsible for the efficient and effective coordination and implementation of this Ministerial Understanding. Progress of implementation of this Ministerial Understanding shall be regularly submitted to the ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting, for further action.

  2. The Senior Transport Officials Meeting shall also be responsible for providing the necessary institutional mechanism to encourage greater participation of the private sector, ASEAN dialogue powers, international and multilateral organizations, etc., to ensure the successful development and implementation of the ASEAN Highway Network Project.

  3. The ASEAN Secretariat shall assist the Senior Transport Officials Meeting in the discharge of the above responsibilities, including technical support in the management, coordination, review and monitoring of cooperation programs and activities which may arise from the implementation of this Ministerial Agreement.

Article 5

  1. This Ministerial Understanding shall enter into force on the date of signature.

  2. This Ministerial Understanding may be amended by consent of all the ASEAN Member Countries.

  3. This Ministerial Understanding shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of ASEAN who shall promptly furnish a certified copy thereof to each ASEAN Member Country.

DONE at Hanoi, Vietnam, this 15th day of September 1999, in a single copy in the English language.