1. The Ninth ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM) Meeting was held in Yangon, Myanmar on 23-24 October 2003, preceded by the 16th Senior Transport Officials Meeting(STOM) held on 20-21 October 2003. H.E. Maj. Gen. Hla Myint Swe, Minister of Transport for Myanmar chaired the Ninth ATM, with H.E. Mr. Chhin Kong Hean, Director General for Public Works and Transport for Cambodia as Vice-Chairman.
2. The Ministers had a retreat where they had candid exchange of views on the broadening and deepening of policy and program directions for ASEAN transport cooperation, particularly in the light of the new challenges and opportunities set by the ASEAN leaders in the Ninth ASEAN Summit Meeting in Bali, Indonesia on 7-8 October 2003.
3. H.E. General Khin Nyunt, Prime Minister of the Union of Myanmar, officially opened the Ninth ATM. In his Opening Address, the Prime Minister expressed that the Ninth ATM assumed special significance as it had taken place a fortnight after the Ninth ASEAN Summit. He stated that the role of transportation networks connecting all ASEAN states cannot be overemphasized in the march towards the ASEAN Community’s goal of a single market and regional integration. With the progressive development of infrastructure, he believed that Myanmar could become a transportation hub connecting Southeast Asia and South Asia as well as with China. The Prime Minister affirmed Myanmar’s full support to the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link (SKRL) Project. He expressed confidence that the SKRL spur line to Myanmar will also receive due attention and support for such a development would link all countries on the Singapore-Kunming rail route.
Transport in the ASEAN Economic Community
4. The Ministers welcomed the 9th ASEAN Summit’s decision to formalize the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) as the end-goal of economic integration in the ASEAN region by the year 2020. The Ministers reaffirmed that an efficient and integrated transport system is key for ASEAN to integrate with the global economy, improve competitiveness and enhance the inflow of foreign direct investment.
5. In moving forward the AEC, the Ministers 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 tasked their senior officials to prepare an updated transport cooperation plan for 2005-2010, for adoption at the Tenth ATM.
6. The Ministers, in line with the ASEAN leaders’ directive to accelerate the integration of the air travel and tourism sectors, tasked their officials to develop a regional action plan for staged and progressive implementation of Open Sky arrangement in ASEAN. The Ministers endorsed the Roadmap for ASEAN Competitive Air Services Policy, as the guiding principle for the liberalization of regional air cargo and passenger services in the ASEAN region.
Enhancing Transport Facilitation Initiatives
7. The Ministers discussed options to expedite the conclusion of the ASEAN transport facilitation agreements. The Ministers looked forward to the early operationalization of the ASEAN goods in transit agreement. The Ministers also looked forward to the prompt conclusion and signing of the ASEAN inter-state and multimodal transport agreements by the Tenth ATM.
Steady Progress of Transport Projects and Activities
8. The Ministers expressed satisfaction with the progress of implementation of the various strategic programs for the ASEAN highway and railway infrastructure projects and in ASEAN cooperation in air, land and maritime transport sectors and transport facilitation. The Ministers welcomed the great strides in ASEAN cooperative partnerships with China and Japan, as well as on the foreign-assisted projects and activities with technical assistance from ASEAN dialogue partners (Australia, China, Japan and Korea), Germany, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). These initiatives would form integral parts of the updated ASEAN transport cooperation plan for 2005-2010.
9. The Tenth ATM and the associated meetings will be held in Cambodia in October 2004.
List of Ministers
(i) H.E. Pehin Dato Haji Zakaria Sulaiman, Minister of Communications, Brunei Darussalam;
(ii) H.E. Mr. Chhin Kong Hean, Director General of Public Works and Transport, Cambodia;
(iii) H. E. Mr. Agum Gumelar, Minister of Communications, Indonesia;
(iv) H.E. Mr. Bouathong Vonglokham, Minister of Communication, Transport, Post and Construction, Lao PDR;
(v) H.E. Dato’ Chan Kong Choy, Minister of Transport, Malaysia;
(vi) H.E. Major General Hla Myint Swe, Minister of Transport, Myanmar;
(vii) H.E. Mr. Arturo T. Valdez, Deputy Minister for Transport, Philippines;
(viii) H.E. Mr. Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Transport, Singapore;
(ix) H.E. Mr. Nikorn Chamnong, Deputy Minister of Transport, Thailand;
(x) H.E. Mr. Pham The Minh, Vice Minister of Transport, Viet Nam; and
(xi) H.E. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, ASEAN Secretary General.