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ASEAN, Hong Kong ink free trade agreements

13 Novembre 2017

Heads of state and government of ASEAN's ten members and their dialogue partners gather in the Philippines from November 13 to 14 for the 31st ASEAN Summit.

With glasses raised, they toasted "Mabuhay" on the eve of the 31st Asean Summit in Manila, before tucking into a four-course meal that included snapper in miso broth, Filipino steak sushi with grilled slices of US Black Angus beef tenderloin, and caramel flan.

"In the face of protectionist sentiments across the world, these two agreements are, in fact, a loud and clear vote that all of us here prefer free and open trade", said HKC Commerce and Economic Development Secretary Edward Yau during the signing ceremony held last Sunday at the Marriot Hotel.

A strategic partnership between ASEAN and Hong Kong will "usher in greater trade synergies and more job opportunities for people and businesses and the region", he added. Foreign ministers of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) recently pledged to implement the Boracay Action Agenda, a Philippine-led initiative on MSMEs.

Said Hong Kong's Commerce and Economic Development Secretary Edward Yau: "In the face of protectionist sentiments in other parts of the world, these two agreements are in fact a loud and clear vote from all of us for freer and more open trade". For one, HKC stands as the gateway to mainland China.

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Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez said the agreements indicated "deeper commitment towards shared prosperity and inclusive growth in the region" and would help the regional bloc and Hong Kong unlock the "tremendous potential of regional economic integration".

Hong Kong's direct investment in ASEAN reached US$9.6 billion a year ago, making up 9.9 per cent of the total FDI in the bloc.

In 2015, Hong Kong was ASEAN's 7th largest trading partner, with total trade worth HK$ 823.3 billion (around P 5.4 trillion).

Asean's economic ministers also met to discuss the progress of the Asean Economic Community, which envisions an integrated regional market by 2025.

ASEAN, Hong Kong ink free trade agreements