Tax News | 14 July 2014
ASEAN, Hong Kong start FTA negotiations
by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong
It was disclosed that the first round of successful negotiations on the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was held on July 10 and 11.
Representatives from the Governments of the 10 ASEAN member states – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – met representatives of the Hong Kong Government in Hong Kong at the first meeting of the Hong Kong-ASEAN Trade Negotiation Committee, which marks the formal commencement of the FTA negotiations.
"ASEAN is an important trading partner of Hong Kong," said Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development. "An FTA between Hong Kong and ASEAN will boost the economic growth of the two sides, and at the same time further enhance Hong Kong’s role as a regional trading hub, and as a gateway for trade and investment between ASEAN and the Mainland."
"The commencement of Hong Kong-ASEAN FTA negotiation marks a significant milestone of Hong Kong’s participation in regional economic integration," So concluded.
With the support of the Chinese Government, and following ASEAN’s recent consent, the key elements to be covered by the FTA negotiation include the elimination or reduction of tariffs; rules of origin; the liberalization of trade in services; the liberalization, promotion and protection of investment; and intellectual property co-operation.
ASEAN is the second largest trading partner of Hong Kong in terms of goods and the fourth largest in terms of services. ASEAN is also the fifth largest destination of foreign direct investment (FDI) from Hong Kong and the sixth largest source of FDI into Hong Kong.