SCED: Hong Kong, China - ASEAN Free Trade Agreement facilitates Hong Kong and ASEAN partnership (with photos)

     The forthcoming Hong Kong, China - Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Free Trade Agreement, which has been under negotiation, will strengthen economic ties between Hong Kong and ASEAN and by facilitating the flow of goods, services and investments, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, said in Laos today (August 7).

     Speaking at the 13th ASEAN Leadership Forum on “China - Hong Kong - ASEAN Partnership: Growing together for Shared Prosperity”, Mr So shared his insights with the panelists on what Hong Kong may bring to the partnership in terms of its locational advantages, world-class infrastructure, deep pool of talents, unique role under the Belt and Road Initiative as well as the forthcoming Hong Kong, China - ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.

     He pointed out that Hong Kong possess unparalleled access across the Asia-Pacific region, and unrivalled connections both to the international markets and to the Mainland China. With its unique location and remarkable infrastructure and logistics network, Hong Kong has been serving and supporting ASEAN businesses in capitalising all forms of growth opportunities, including those emerging from the Belt and Road Initiative.

     On the software side, Mr So said Hong Kong attracts abundance of the world’s best professionals, ranging from engineers and surveyors to architects, designers and planners, as well as other professionals in financing, insurance, arbitration, risk management and project consulting. All of them are excited to take part in the development, management and operation of infrastructure projects overseas.

     “Hong Kong is well placed to partner with ASEAN countries and companies to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative. With our distinctive advantages operating under the unique ‘one country, two systems’ framework, Hong Kong can play a central role in delivering the enormous opportunities presented by this grand scheme,” he said.

     When the Hong Kong, China - ASEAN Free Trade Agreement negotiation is completed, Mr So believed the China - ASEAN Free Trade Area, the Hong Kong, China - ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, coupling with the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), would provide a solid platform to facilitate trade and investment among Hong Kong and ASEAN countries. It will also help unleash Hong Kong’s full potential as a hub for international trade and investment.

     Before the Forum, Mr So met with theActing President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Oudet Souvannavong, as well as Hong Kong people in Laos.

     In the evening, he will meet with representatives of the Lao Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

     Mr So will return to Hong Kong tomorrow (August 8).

Ends/Sunday, August 7, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:13