The ASEAN Transport Ministers met in Yangon, Myanmar on 23-25 October 2003 and expressed their support for the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community.  They also met the Chinese Transport Minister and the Japanese Parliamentary Secretary for Land, Infrastructure and Transport in Yangon.

The Ministers reaffirmed that an efficient and integrated transport system was key for ASEAN to integrate with the global economy, improve competitiveness and enhance the inflow of foreign direct investment. They agreed to intensify regional activities to enhance multimodal transport linkages and interconnectivity, promote the seamless movement of peoples and goods, promote further liberalization in the air and maritime transport services, and further improve integration and efficiency of transport services and the supporting logistics systems. The Ministers also agreed to work towards developing a regional action plan for staged and progressive implementation of Open Sky arrangement in ASEAN.  (See ATM Joint Media Statement).

ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong urged the transport ministers and officials “to make the ASEAN transport sector a strong contributor to solidifying the foundation of ASEAN economic integration.”

The Ministers are expected to adopt the updated Transport Action Plan, which will reinforce the ASEAN Economic Community’s goals in their annual meeting next year in Cambodia.  Representatives from the ASEAN associations of ports, ship-owners, shippers’ councils, forwarders and airlines will participate in the ASEAN transport expert task group that will formulate the updated transport plan.

In Yangon, at the second ASEAN and China Meeting, the Ministers reaffirmed that building an integrated transport network for smooth and speedy movement of goods and people was a vital supporting infrastructure to an ASEAN-China free trade area.  (See ATM+China Joint Media Statement).  To effectively expand, enrich and improve the mechanism of ASEAN-China transport cooperation to support the ASEAN-China free trade area initiative, the Ministers agreed to upgrade and formalize transport relations in a more holistic and integrated manner, as well as lay the solid foundation for medium-to-long term transport cooperation.  The Ministers agreed to conclude and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on ASEAN-China Transport Cooperation next year on the occasion of the Third ATM + China or at the annual ASEAN –China Summit.

 At the inaugural ASEAN and Japan Transport Ministers Meeting, ASEAN and Japan officially formalized its transport partnership (See ATM+Japan Joint Media Statement). The Ministers endorsed the Terms of Reference for ASEAN-Japan Transport Partnership, as well as the 16 joint projects for implementation for 2003-2004. ASEAN-Japan partnership covers policy dialogue, enhancing human resource development and cooperation in the facilitation of cargo transport, physical distribution and logistics, enhancing safety in maritime transport, enhancing safety and efficiency of international air transport services, and promotion of advanced transport technologies to ensure security and protect the environment.