Welcome speech delivered by Dr Alan Bollard, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, at the 8th APEC Transportation Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo, Japan.
Good morning and thank you, Ministers Ohta and Mangindaan. The APEC Secretariat would like to thank Japan for its hosting of this 8th APEC Transportation Ministerial Meeting. Japan’s contribution reflects a long period as an active and supportive member of the APEC Transportation Working Group: dedicating resources, chairing the Maritime Experts’ Group, encouraging private sector participants and actively supporting many projects that have been carried out over the years.
The theme of this meeting today, “enhancing connectivity by high quality transportation in the APEC region,” focuses across a wide range of themes that come out of the transportation sector: infrastructure, safety, security, reliability, accessibility, technology, sustainability.
APEC Transportation Ministers last met in San Francisco in 2011 and they set a number of broad tasks primarily for the Transportation Working Group. Most of these have resulted in some deliverables in the last two years. Many of them will be discussed in this meeting.
The Transportation Working Group itself has been very active. The APEC system has about 40 working groups working on a number of technical features. Transportation has been the second biggest of all of those and done a lot to promote regional economic integration through the facilitation of transportation services. This includes support for improvements to efficiency, safety, efficiency, reliance, security and green transport.
As Minster Mangindaan said, Indonesia has set a number of priorities for this year as the 2013 APEC host economy. One priority is advancing progress towards the Bogor Goals which were agreed to almost 20 years ago in Indonesia.
This priority is related to APEC’s original focus on trade and investment liberalization. It is very important from the transportation point of view because of its focus on facilitating the movement of goods at the border and harmonizing regulations behind the border. Examples in your field include the harmonizing of vehicle standards, intelligent transportation systems and global navigation satellite systems.
A second priority for APEC this year is sustainable growth with equity. The transportation contribution has been around efficiency as well as the issue of sustainability. This includes projects like road safety best practices, air traffic management, tools to reduce emissions, clean energy frameworks for shipping and green port initiatives, among others.
The third priority that the minister mentioned is enhancing connectivity. Transport is at the core of this effort. Three of the eight supply chain chokepoints that we’ve identified we would regard as trade impeding bottlenecks pertaining to the transportation sector. Again, the APEC Transportation Working Group has been very active in advancing the Supply Chain Framework Action Plan that APEC Leaders have put together around this.
Examples here include the harmonization of standards and procedures, business aviation core principles, information-sharing through the APEC Port Services Network, the aviation language proficiency and related programs, and capacity building on risk mitigation.
Of course, transportation is both a challenge and opportunity in that it runs across many parts of the APEC agenda. For this reason, the Transportation Working Group has been working with a number of other APEC fora.
Such areas of collaboration include the operationalization of the APEC trade recovery program by the Counter-Terrorism Task Force, the joint initiative with the Emergency Preparedness Working Group on supply chain resilience, and the exchange of best practices in green growth with the energy smart communities initiative.
Chair, we look forward to an active meeting and to results that can be reflected in the Leaders’ statement in Bali in a month’s time. It’s very good timing for this meeting.
Thank you very much.