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Policy Dialogue with ASEAN Economic Ministers

Policy Enhancements, Facilitative Actions Crucial to Develop Logistics Sector
Da Nang, Viet Nam, 24 August 2010

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Representatives from the ASEAN Member States and the businesses in the logistics services sector meeting at a policy dialogue in Da Nang today were unanimous on the importance of an effective public-private partnership in building an important bridge to match government policies with business demands.

In a spin-off event from a symposium held a day earlier, which reviewed the status of implementation of the ASEAN Logistics Roadmap and logistics-related commitments in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint, the ASEAN Economic Ministers and the representatives of the logistics services companies in the region held the dialogue to exchange views and consider recommendations on the logistics services sector in the region.

Both sides agreed that while hard infrastructure is the foundation to support the overall physical connectivity, enhancements in policy and facilitative actions are also equally crucial to increase the competiveness of the logistics sector to enhance the ASEAN region’s appeal as a profitable trade partner and investment destination.

Mr Dave Tan, Executive Director of the Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers (CAPEC), said public-private partnership is important in many areas of logistics services, from joint projects in developing logistics infrastructure and services, to human resource development. Representing the logistics services businesses in the region, Mr Tan recommended to the ASEAN Economic Ministers that the public and private sectors undertake concrete steps to work together to develop the logistics sector.

“We recommend that ASEAN institutionalises a public-private sector policy dialogue on logistics issues with an annual dialogue session at the sidelines of the Senior Economic Officials Meeting / Senior Transport Officials Meeting and a national public-private sector forum for an exchange of views and to provide inputs to the respective government for consideration in policy formulation,” suggested Mr Tan. “Meanwhile, the private sector will assist in providing information on best practices, advancements in technology, market developments and collaborate in human resource development,” he offered.

The private sector further recommended the establishment of a Business Sector Checklist to monitor the progress of the logistics services sectors identified in the Roadmap, based on, if not preferably ahead of, the timeline and targets committed in the AEC Blueprint. The checklist would be accompanied by a comprehensive study to identify behind-the-border barriers. They also called for each Member State to nominate a central coordinating agency within the government with strong coordination capabilities, to act as a focal point and take charge of the respective country’s logistics facilitation and liberalisation efforts.

Mr Hidetoshi Nishimura, Executive Director of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), who co-organised and supported the Symposium, reconfirmed ERIA’s commitment to provide continuous intellectual support to the challenges in implementation. “For the past one year, ERIA had conducted intensive research work on the Comprehensive Asia Development Plan and supported the drafting efforts of the ASEAN Connectivity Master Plan,” he said. “ERIA believes it is imperative that we improve physical connectivity and institutional connectivity to create a better business environment in this region, so we will render assistance for further communication between policy makers, business and academia,” he added.

Today’s policy dialogue provided the platform for the private sector to present their recommendations to the Member States which also took the opportunity to discuss the respective challenges of their country and different ways how the governments can help to further improve the logistics sector at the regional level.

The one-day Symposium which convened on Sunday was jointly organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam (MOIT), the ASEAN Secretariat and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers (CAPEC).

Sunday’s symposium and today’s policy dialogue were held at the sidelines of the 42nd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and related meetings, which is taking place in Da Nang until 27 August.

Cached copy from ASEAN Bulletin (August 2010) [www.asean.org]