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Cambodia scheduled to join Asean-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement

Khmer Times - 12 February 2021

Cambodia scheduled to join Asean-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement

Exporters are being urged to use more privileges under the Asean-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) as Cambodia is scheduled to join the pact starting tomorrow.

According to Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, Cambodia is the only Asean member that had not applied the conditions of the agreement. That country recently notified the Asean Secretariat it is ready to comply with AHKFTA, meaning the pact covers all Asean member countries from Feb 12.

The AHKFTA was signed in November 2017 and enforced in June 2019 for Hong Kong and certain Asean members.

According to Mrs Auramon, Thai exporters are entitled to myriad benefits from the pact, notably for trade in goods for which Hong Kong has already waived customs duties. This led to Thailand’s outbound shipments to Hong Kong increasing significantly.

For instance, exports of frozen pork rose to US$105 million last year, up 3,596% from the period prior to the pact’s enforcement. Shipments of aircraft and parts rose by 1,530% to $436 million, while cosmetics, soap and skincare products gained 119% to $169 million, frozen chicken increased 93% to $40.1 million, and fax machines, telephones and parts were up 66% to $412 million.

For trade in services, she said Hong Kong opened the service sector to Asean members more than those committed to the World Trade Organization, especially for content production for radio and TV broadcasters in Hong Kong.

As a result, Thai operators are allowed to take a 100% stake in service businesses in Hong Kong, said Mrs Auramon.

In addition, she said Hong Kong established the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Thailand in February 2019, the third such office in Asean following Singapore and Indonesia. It is meant to foster deeper economic and trade relations between the two parties.

The Commerce Ministry reported two-way trade between Thailand and Hong Kong was worth $13.3 billion in 2020, with exports from Thailand amounting to $11.3 billion. Key exports included computers and parts; gems and jewellery; aircraft and parts; telephones and parts; fresh, frozen and dried fruit; and electrical appliances and parts. Key imports were gold, fabric, chemicals and electrical machinery.

 source: Khmer Times