The Lao government is planning to launch an initiative to promote joint investment between state and private sectors to upgrade the country's roads in anticipation of the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), according to state-run daily Vientiane Times Friday. Despite extensive investment in transport infrastructure, Laos is falling behind its neighbors in the ability to move goods and people, said Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong. The comments came during the 19th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting held in Laos' Champassak Province. As Laos and other countries prepare for the establishment of the ASEAN economic community, Thammavong has called on ASEAN ministers to work together on solving regional connectivity issues. According to Thammavong, funding limitations have hindered Laos ' efforts to develop its transport infrastructure to the same extent as other ASEAN countries. According to Vientiane Times, the 19th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting will also see the signing of a protocol supporting the privatization of aviation services under the Protocol to Implement the Eighth Package of Commitments on Air Transport Services under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services. The meeting also acted as a platform for ASEAN transport ministers to extensively discuss air, land and maritime transport challenges and potential cooperative solutions.