1. The Twelfth ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM) Meeting was held on 8 February 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand. H.E. Admiral Thira Hao-Charoen, Minister of Transport for Thailand chaired the Meeting, with H. E. Mr. Raymond Lim Siang Keat, Minister for Transport for Singapore as Vice-Chairman.
2. H. E. General Surayud Chulanont (Ret.), Prime Minister of Thailand, officially opened the 12th ATM. In his Opening Address, the Prime Minister underscored the importance of effective transportation systems as essential element in achieving the ASEAN Community. He was pleased to see that ASEAN transport cooperation has gained impetus, through developing webs of transportation networks between ASEAN Member Countries and with East Asia.
3. The Prime Minister stressed that in order to accelerate the progress of the ASEAN Community, it is necessary to remove non-physical impediments to the free flow of goods, services and people; develop regional training centres to enhance competence of transport officials and operators, and to mobilise sufficient resources to build essential infrastructure linkages. He enjoined the Transport Ministers to ensure the effective and early implementation of commitments made into the various ASEAN transport agreements by expediting relevant national or ASEAN processes.
Strengthening Transport Facilitation, Liberalisation and Integration
4. The Ministers reaffirmed that an efficient, secure and integrated transport system is key in hastening the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. The Ministers agreed to intensify regional cooperation in enhancing transport facilitation, in promoting multimodal transport infrastructure linkages and connectivity, in facilitating transport and tourism integration, in expanding liberalization opportunities in the air and maritime transport sectors, and in realizing a single air transport market in ASEAN by 2015. The Ministers affirmed their commitment to work closely with all relevant stakeholders and, in particular, the private sector associations, the ASEAN Dialogue Partners and relevant international organisations and agencies.
5. The Ministers signed the following ASEAN transport agreements: Protocol 1 – Designation of Transit Transport Routes and Facilities of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Goods in Transit, and Protocol to Implement the Fifth Package of Commitments on Air Transport Services under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS).
6. Protocol 1 is a significant milestone in ASEAN’s efforts to facilitate the transportation of goods within the region. It will provide unhindered access and movement of goods vehicles over the designated highway routes in the ASEAN region. The fifth package for air transport services covers commitments in agreed sub-sectors and new sub-sectors which include leasing of aircraft with and without crew and air freight forwarding services. ASEAN currently has expanded liberalization opportunities in aircraft repair and maintenance services; selling and marketing of air transport services and computer reservation system services.
7. The Ministers witnessed the signing of the Protocol to Amend the 2002 ASEAN Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Air Freight Services by the ASEAN Senior Transport Officials/ASEAN Directors-General of Civil Aviation. This Protocol is the first step implementation towards the full liberalisation of air freight services. Under this Protocol, the national carriers will operate all-cargo services up to 250 tons weekly in each direction, with no limitations on frequency and aircraft type.
8. The Ministers applauded the efforts under the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) in advancing its sub-regional transport integration agenda, with the signing of the MOU on Expansion of Air Linkages at the 3rd BIMP-EAGA Summit on the 12th January 2007 in Cebu, Philippines. The Ministers viewed that the BIMP-EAGA MOU is a further illustration of more liberalised passenger air services in line with the ASEAN Roadmap for Integration of Air Travel Sector. This is also built upon a similar multilateral agreement on air services of the CLMV Countries.
9. The Ministers were pleased with the notable progress in the finalisation of the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement of the Full Liberalisation of Air Freight Services and the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on Air Services. Conclusion of these multilateral agreements would be important milestones and signals to pave the way for a more liberal environment for expanding air freight and passenger services in ASEAN, for enhanced trade, investment and tourism opportunities in the region. The Ministers looked forward to the conclusion and signing of these agreements in the 13th ATM.
Fostering Greater Transport and Tourism Integration
10. The Ministers welcomed the initiative to work closer with the ASEAN Tourism Ministers to accelerate the integration of tourism and transport services. STOM will collaborate with the ASEAN National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) on joint programmes and activities to promote air travel, cruise tourism and the facilitation of land travel. The Ministers supported the ASEAN STOM-NTOs Consultation process.
Steady Progress in ASEAN Transport Cooperation
11. The Ministers expressed satisfaction with the progress of implementation of the various cooperative programmes in air, land and maritime transport sectors and transport facilitation. The Ministers appreciated the great strides in ASEAN cooperative partnerships with China and Japan, and looked forward to the expeditious conclusion of the ASEAN-China Maritime Transport Agreement and the ASEAN-China Regional Air Services Arrangement in the next ATM+China Meeting. . The Ministers also looked forward to the adoption of the “ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Declaration of Transport Security” in the 4th ATM+Japan Meeting. The Ministers were pleased with the notable progress in the steady implementation of the 21 ASEAN-Japan transport partnership projects.
12. The Ministers noted with appreciation on the progress of the on-going foreign-assisted projects/activities with technical assistance from Australia, China, Japan and Republic of Korea, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP).
13. The Ministers also noted ASEAN’s preparation to engage the European Union (EU), India, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the United States of America (USA) to forge cooperative partnership in the transport sector.
14. The Thirteenth ATM and the associated meetings will be held in Singapore from October/November 2007.