THE NATION September 16, 2013
Asean eyes free-trade pact with Hong Kong
ASEAN and Hong Kong plan to start discussing a free-trade deal by early next year in a move to promote trade and economic growth.
After meeting Hong Kong’s high-level official Carrie Lam, Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach said Hong Kong was showing strong interest in investing in several different sectors in Thailand, such as financial, logistics, tourism, entertainment and creative economy.
Yanyong said that since preparing for the free-trade talks was Thailand’s responsibility, the negotiation process should start by early next year.
He added that the negotiation should not take that much time as Hong Kong was a highly liberal economy and ASEAN had a lot of experience in signing free-trade pacts with other countries.
Meanwhile, China is encouraging Thais to invest in Chongqing property projects, saying that there are many opportunities of growth.
Olarn Chaipravat, chief of Thai Trade Representatives, said China wanted Thai firms to enter the Chongqing market as they can use it to explore the rest of China. At present, the biggest attraction for investors is the Chongqing River View Boutique, which includes hotels, offices, shopping centres and exhibition areas and covers 16,000 square metres. The centre is expected to open its doors next October with as many as 40 million visitors.
The project, operated by Kerry Sun Enterprise Development (China) Co Ltd, will be decorated in the Thai style. Potential businesses for Thai investors would be restaurants, spas, OTOP outlets among others.