Asean mem­bers to boost trans­port links

The New Paper - - NEWS - CHRISTO­PHER TAN, THE STRAITS TIMES

Re­gion moves closer to sin­gle ship­ping and avi­a­tion mar­ket, eas­ier cross-bor­der bus travel

Asean will be­come even closer as mem­ber states take steps to­wards form­ing a sin­gle ship­ping and avi­a­tion mar­ket, while mak­ing it eas­ier for buses to move be­tween bor­ders.

An­nounc­ing this at the Asean Trans­port Min­is­ters Meet­ing yes­ter­day, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Teo Chee Hean said min­is­ters from the 10 mem­ber states will be sign­ing an agree­ment on the Fa­cil­i­ta­tion of Cross-Bor­der Trans­port of Pas­sen­gers by Road Ve­hi­cles (CBTP) today.

“The CBTP will sim­plify the re­quire­ments for cross-bor­der bus trans­port ser­vices within Asean and al­low thou­sands of buses to en­joy fa­cil­i­tated en­try and tran­sit to other mem­ber states,” he said at the event at Marina Bay Sands.

“This sends a strong sig­nal to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity that Asean is com­mit­ted to fos­ter open, in­te­grated economies and will fur­ther lib­er­alise trade for the ben­e­fit of all our peo­ple.”

For this, Sin­ga­pore is ready to rat­ify a pro­to­col to en­able the set­ting up of des­ig­nated trans­port routes where goods ve­hi­cles can cross bor­ders with less un­load­ing and Cus­toms pro­ce­dures.

Mr Teo also said Asean mem­ber states are tak­ing fur­ther steps to­wards cre­at­ing a sin­gle avi­a­tion and ship­ping mar­ket.

A sin­gle avi­a­tion mar­ket “will in­te­grate our avi­a­tion sec­tors in all as­pects, in­clud­ing air ser­vices lib­er­al­i­sa­tion and air traf­fic man­age­ment”.

To­gether with a sin­gle ship­ping mar­ket, it will help pro­mote the free move­ment of goods, ser­vices and peo­ple among Asean coun­tries.

Mr Teo also said Asean has made “good progress to strengthen air, sea and land links”, cit­ing the rat­i­fi­ca­tion process for the Asean open skies agree­ment, which was com­pleted last year as a key mile­stone.

“We are also mak­ing ef­forts to es­tab­lish new ship­ping routes and en­hance the land trans­port net­work with ini­tia­tives, such as the Sin­ga­pore-Kun­ming Rail Link, and high­speed rail projects in Thai­land, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore and In­done­sia,” he said.

“We can ex­pect trans­port to play an even more im­por­tant en­abling role as trade and tourism flows in­ten­sify, driven by strong eco­nomic growth and a fast-grow­ing mid­dle class.”

Mr Teo also said Asean is dis­cussing with the Euro­pean Union on a Com­pre­hen­sive Air Trans­port Agree­ment.

He said: “This will al­low air­lines from Asean and the EU to more ef­fec­tively ac­cess the grow­ing mar­ket for air travel within and be­tween our two re­gions.”

The two-day event, which ends today, saw Asean trans­port min­is­ters and del­e­gates view­ing new tech­nolo­gies be­ing de­vel­oped and de­ployed in Sin­ga­pore.

chris­tan@sph.com.sg

PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Teo Chee Hean says the bus pact “will fur­ther lib­er­alise trade for the ben­e­fit of all our peo­ple”.

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