The Nation - - BUSINESS -

ASEAN COUN­TRIES will make it eas­ier for tour buses to move be­tween bor­ders within the re­gion, ac­cord­ing to Sin­ga­pore's Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Teo Chee Hean.

Speak­ing at the open­ing of the Asean Trans­port Min­is­ters Meet­ing yes­ter­day, Teo said that min­is­ters from the 10 mem­ber states will be sign­ing an Asean Frame­work Agree­ment on the Fa­cil­i­ta­tion of Cross- Bor­der Trans­port of Pas­sen­gers by Road Ve­hi­cles (CBTP) to­day. “The CBTP will sim­plify the re­quire­ments for cross­bor­der 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.”

At the same time, Sin­ga­pore is ready to rat­ify Protocol 1 of the Asean Frame­work Agree­ment on the Fa­cil­i­ta­tion of Goods in Tran­sit.

The deputy prime min­is­ter also said Asean mem­ber states are tak­ing fur­ther steps to­wards creat­ing a sin­gle avi­a­tion and ship­ping mar­ket.


He said a sin­gle avi­a­tion mar­ket “will in­te­grate our avi­a­tion sec­tors in all as­pects, in­clud­ing air ser­vices lib­er­al­i­sa­tion and air traf­fic man­age­ment".

An in­te­grated air traf­fic man­age­ment plan will help achieve the Seam­less Asean Sky vi­sion, and in­crease air traf­fic man­age­ment ef­fi­ciency and ca­pac­ity for mem­ber states, he added.

Steps to fur­ther in­te­grate lo­gis­tic chains and im­prove mar­ket ac­cess are be­ing taken.

“For in­stance, com­mon stan­dards on the information re­quired for port se­cu­rity clear­ance across mem­ber states will help re­duce busi­ness costs for our com­pa­nies,” Teo noted.

He 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 high-speed rail projects in Thai­land, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore and In­done­sia,” Teo added.

“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,” he said.

Sin­ga­pore is host­ing the 23rd Asean Trans­port Min­is­ters Meet­ing and as­so­ci­ated meet­ings with Asean dia­logue part­ners China, Ja­pan and South Korea. It last hosted this in 2007.

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