Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau briefed political and business communities on the Government's work on boosting ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a luncheon today.

Co-organised by the Trade & Industry Department and Invest Hong Kong, the event was attended by some 120 representatives of consulates, local and foreign chambers of commerce, professional bodies and the business community.


Mr Yau noted that the Government is stepping up partnership with ASEAN, Hong Kong's second largest trading partner, through the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Investment Agreement between Hong Kong and ASEAN, which entered into full force three years ago.      

“Earlier this month, I signed the First Protocol to Amend the FTA between ASEAN and Hong Kong to update the Product Specific Rules of origin, which enhanced the coverage of the rules from some 200 to almost 600 categories of products.

“Hong Kong traders will be able to gain originating status for products more easily and effectively to enjoy preferential tariff treatment, which in turn would surely further enhance the burgeoning trade relations between Hong Kong and ASEAN.”


The Government spares no effort in enhancing people-to-people exchanges and experience sharing through the Economic & Technical Cooperation Work Programme under the FTA, Mr Yau added.


With a contribution of $25 million, the work programme encourages activities aiming to exchange information, share best practices and build capacity for regional growth.

Twenty-eight projects proposed by ASEAN member states and Hong Kong have been approved so far, covering professional services, small and medium enterprises co-operation, trade facilitation, intellectual property and e-commerce co-operation, with 13 of them completed, benefiting more than 4,000 participants.


The commerce chief highlighted Hong Kong's commitment to taking co-operation with ASEAN to the next level and called on stakeholders' continued support for the city's early accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's largest and one of the most open and inclusive free trade agreements.


He noted that all RCEP members, including ASEAN, are already Hong Kong's important trading partners, accounting for 71% of the city’s total merchandise trade in 2022 and 46% of its total trade in services in 2021.

“This is why Hong Kong is well-placed to join and add distinct value to RCEP, through contributing our advantages as a logistics, trading and financial hub towards further optimisation of the regional supply chain.”


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