SEAN, Hong Kong Ink Free Trade Agreements
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Dispatches) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) signed on Sunday free trade and investment agreements on the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila.
ASEAN and HKSAR sealed two agreements; the ASEAN Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement and ASEAN Hong Kong, China Investment Agreement, said a report by state-run Philippine News Agency.
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”.
“With this signing on the occasion of the 31st ASEAN Summit, we send a strong message to the world of our outward-oriented pride and economic resolve towards cooperation,” Lopez said in a speech during the signing ceremony.
Lopez noted that Hong Kong was one of the world’s leading trade powerhouses and ASEAN’s sixth largest trading partner.
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.
HKSAR’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said the signing of the agreement was “just a start”.
“From now on, Hong Kong and all our ASEAN friends will have ample opportunities to meet and review our trade and investment opportunities,” he said.
The leaders of the ten member-states of the ASEAN including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam along with dialogue partners Australia, Canada, China, European Council, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, United States and the United Nations are currently in Manila to attend the ASEAN summit.