Ladies and gentlemen.
It is a pleasure to be with you here in Bali.
The transportation sector is of vital economic interest to both the APEC process and for sustainable development in our region. Efforts to develop the region's capacity to move goods and people safely and efficiently via land, air and sea is essential for the achievement of APEC's goals.
Our success in developing this area also relates directly to the APEC Chile 2004 theme of "One Community, Our Future."
This theme highlights the notion that despite cultural, social, political and developmental differences, APEC Member Economies cooperate as partners for collective growth.
Transportation is one of the most important sectors for us to progress this idea of a regional community with a shared future. The movement of passengers across borders expands cultural understanding and knowledge, and the trade of goods strengthens our economies, creates jobs and contributes to regional prosperity.
This is a major factor in APEC reaching our Bogor Goals of free trade and investment in the APEC Region by 2010 for industrialized economies and 2020 for developing economies.
Through the wide range of APEC meetings and projects undertaken each year, APEC's network of ministers, officials, business leaders and academic researchers representing different areas, including transportation, is growing stronger.
This ministerial meeting gives us an opportunity to strengthen this network and make it less complicated to implement new initiatives and practices that make the transportation industry more efficient and safe.
Today I would like to provide you with an update of issues current in the APEC process that are relevant to this meeting.
You may be aware that in the 2004 APEC Year there are ten ministerial level meetings taking place before the Leaders' Meeting in November. There is also a great volume of other APEC work and numerous initiatives taking place throughout the region that have a direct impact on the transportation industry.
One of the greatest challenges facing regional transportation is ensuring the safety and security of passengers and cargo while not undermining the free flow of trade. In fact, the aim of APEC trade security reform is actually to enhance the efficiency of the transportation industry.
At the annual meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade, this year in Pucón, Chile, Ministers reiterated the commitment of APEC member economies to improve trade security in areas such as air and maritime transport security.
At the same time Ministers have demonstrated an awareness of the need to address concerns raised by the business community about the cost of new security measures.
One of the most recent APEC ministerial meetings to take place was the sixth meeting of APEC Energy Ministers in the Philippines in June. At this meeting Energy Ministers expressed the need to strengthen the protection of the supply and storage of the region's energy supplies.
Ministers called for a commitment to establish emergency mechanisms and contingency plans to respond to emergencies. These include supply disruption and incidents of damage to infrastructure. These plans are intended to counter threats to sea lanes from a number of sources including terrorist or pirate action, geopolitical instability or natural disaster.
Energy Ministers also made specific mention seeking accelerated cooperation on the development of alternative transportation fuels. As the transportation industry is a heavy user of fossil fuels, reducing the environmental impact of while ensuring the viability of the industry is important for APEC.
Energy Ministers directed the Energy Working Group to implement the recommendations identified in the 'Interim Framework Document on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells.'
As well as the ongoing ministerial meetings, there are several forums in the APEC process that are undertaking work that is relevant to this meeting of Transport Ministers. Two in particular that I would like to mention today are the APEC Automotive Dialogue and the Counter Terrorism Task Force.
Firstly, the Automotive Dialogue is an important forum in that it brings together representatives of both APEC Member Economies and the auto industry to seek ways for further integration in the automotive sector.
In particular a cooperative arrangement was raised in the Sixth Automotive Dialogue that was held in Beijing last June to harmonize road transport regulations and certification standards. The proposal is anticipated to assist in the integration of auto safety and environmental standards throughout the region.
At the same meeting the Auto Dialogue considered prospects preseanted by the latest technology development in the automotive industry. These cover the environment, energy, safety, information technology, production system and Intelligent Transportation Systems. The other forum I would like to highlight is the APEC Counter Terrorism Task Force, and in particular the Second Secure Trade in the APEC Region, or STAR, Conference.
The first took place in Bangkok in 2003, and the Second STAR Conference was held in Viña del Mar, in Chile, in March this year.The Second Star Conference, which had a strong focus on transportation issues, addressed four major issues:
This conference developed a number of valuable recommendations that are now a part of today's agenda. Special note was made of many of the avenues for assistance that exist for developing economies to undertake necessary security reforms. These include a number of regional efforts to enable developing economies to comply with the implementation of the ISPS Code.
The STAR initiative has become an integral part of APEC's work towards establishing safe and secure trade in our region. It provides inputs and impetus to all APEC fora, including the Transportation Working Group, on improving the counter terrorism preparedness of the APEC Region. Implementation of STAR initiatives serve to improve confidence in developing a safer and more stable and robust business environment.
APEC has also expanded counter terrorism activities to involve a number of other international organizations and forums. In Bangkok last year APEC Leaders agreed to "establish a regional trade and financial security initiative within the Asian Development Bank." The aim of this initiative was to support projects that enhance port security, combat terrorist financing, and achieve other counter-terrorism objectives.
Terrorist attacks set new concerns for international fora such as APEC. For example, the horrific attacks in Madrid, formed the impetus for the development of the new railway security issue now being addressed by the Transportation Working Group. At the same time the rapid increase in traffic fatalities and injuries worldwide, especially in the APEC region, resulted in these issues being addressed by APEC members at the last Transportation Working Group meeting in Beijing in April.
Other issues to be raised at this last Transportation Working Group meeting were the contribution of Member Economies to APEC's trade facilitation agenda, the implementation and development of pathfinder initiatives and the APEC Counter-Terrorism agenda. The meeting also included the implementation of trade initiatives such as the Multilateral Agreement on Liberalization of International Air Transportation, or MALIAT, and recommendations from the STAR Conference.
The outcomes of this meeting will be further addressed by the Lead Shepard for the Transportation Working Group in his report to Ministers. These outcomes highlight the useful and fruitful activity of the APEC Transportation working group. It is clearly doing its utmost to achieve tangible results in the liberalization of transportation services and to enhance the safety of transport systems in the APEC Region.
APEC Chile 2004 is a very busy year in terms of both ministerial meetings and the number of other fora events taking place. What I have just outlined are just a few of the many events that took place around our region this year.
An important part of the APEC process is the sharing of information between these meetings and forums. Just as you will become aware in much greater detail of the numerous events that have relevance to the transportation sector, the outcomes of this meeting will be shared throughout the APEC process.
The APEC process has a great opportunity to assist in the development of truly strong regional transportation networks that will facilitate secure, safe and efficient trade between all economies.
As this meeting works through the agenda before us I hope you will provide new ideas and thoughts that reflect the themes and priorities mentioned earlier. This will contribute to building on the strength of our diversity to build a stronger common future for our APEC community.
For further details, please contact: