FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2013
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Anna Humphrey | (703) 875-4357

ASEAN CONNECTIVITY THROUGH RAIL FORUM OPENS IN JAKARTA, INDONESIA
Region-wide Workshop Seeks to Increase U.S.-ASEAN Cooperation in Rail Development

Jakarta, Indonesia – Today, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) opened the ASEAN Connectivity Through Rail Forum with panels focusing on the challenges and opportunities for closer cooperation between the United States and Southeast Asian nations on accelerating freight and passenger rail development in the region.  The Forum is the third sector-specific regional workshop presented under the U.S.-ASEAN Connectivity Cooperation Initiative, launched by USTDA during President Obama's visit to Indonesia in 2011.

Throughout Southeast Asia, countries are making upgrades to increase freight and passenger rail capacity, extending and rehabilitating existing rail infrastructure, developing urban rail, and pursuing cross border rail and transport linkages.  This Forum is advancing those goals while fostering the participation of U.S. companies in the implementation of a range of rail sector improvement projects.  Among the topics being featured during the two-day workshop are tools and practices for network planning; locomotive technologies, operation, maintenance and rehabilitation; life-cycle cost considerations; signaling systems; track maintenance; project management; and financing strategies for rail expansion.

"USTDA fully shares ASEAN's connectivity and infrastructure modernization goals, as our partners in the region seek economic integration to spur greater prosperity, said Henry Steingass, USTDA Regional Director for South and Southeast Asia at the opening of the Forum. 
"We're proud to sponsor this initiative and rail project development efforts that link leading U.S. rail companies to the region's dynamic growth in the sector."

USTDA was joined at the opening of the Forum by U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN David L. Carden.  "This forum is truly representative of the active trade and investment engagements by the U.S. to support ASEAN in meeting its goals of the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity and the ASEAN Economic Community, said Ambassador Carden.

"We join our ASEAN colleagues in recognizing the tremendous economic potential that the rail sector holds for the region, in terms of physical infrastructure and connectivity, but also the economic growth opportunities for the region as a whole."

A total of 120 participants are taking part in the Forum, including over 35 delegates from across ASEAN representing state-owned and private railways, rail authorities and ministries of transportation and the ASEAN Secretariat.  In addition, over 50 U.S. corporate participants and experts from 24 companies and organizations are participating to further pursue business partnerships and to promote the dialogue with ASEAN rail leaders on expanding U.S.-ASEAN cooperation in the sector.

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The U.S. Trade and Development Agency helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies. USTDA links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project planning activities, pilot projects, and reverse trade missions while creating sustainable infrastructure and economic growth in partner countries.

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