Direct involvement between the transportation sector and government has been described as a great APEC strength for ensuring safety and economic success according to the United States' Transportation Secretary, Norman Y. Mineta.
Mr Mineta made the remarks during his address to the APEC Transportation Working Group (TPTWG) meeting that was held last week in Washington D.C.
A former United States' member of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), Mr Mineta cited a range of achievements achieved through public and private sector cooperation. These include the successful implementation of the Shanghai Model Port Project.
"What has been achieved thanks to this APEC initiative is nothing short of remarkable," Mr Mineta said on his inspection of the Shanghai Port in 2004.
"Customs clearance processing that once took three to four days is now completed in three to four hours. It was a project that has delivered real results, with real benefits and has reduced the costs of doing business without compromising security."
Mr Mineta said multilateral interaction that brings together business and Member Economies to nurture human capital and improve security is an area in which APEC has made great strides. However he said the region can do even better.
"Today I am here to issue a call to action to the members of APEC to embrace multilateralism and to urge our economies to come together for the good of the region," Mr Mineta said.
Citing the experience of the aviation sector in replacing restrictive bilateral agreements with more liberal open skies agreements, Mr Mineta pointed out the new approach as an example of multilateralism that had given airlines the incentive to become more efficient.
"For APEC economies, it is incumbent upon us to intensify our cooperation within the transportation sector to keep pace with, and to support, our economies? progress toward implementing the broader Bogor goals."
Mr Mineta also drew attention to the importance of multilateral interaction not only making transportation systems more economically efficient, but also making them safer, more accessible and more secure.
"It is clear today that secure transportation and economic prosperity are inseparable, and that security must remain high on the transportation agenda for the foreseeable future.
"Having been part of its creation, I am pleased with the success of the Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Initiative.
"Under this initiative, APEC has accomplished much in the way of improving the secure flow of goods and people.
"Whether through the use of common customs information to better identify high-risk shipments, ship and port safety plans, reinforced cockpit doors, or advanced passenger information systems, the STAR Initiative has helped ensure that our citizens and our economies are safer."
The APEC Transportation Working Group was held in Washington D.C. USA, from May 31 to June 3
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