The Star | 10 January 2024
Commerce chief signs HK-Asean FTA protocol
HONG KONG: Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Algernon Yau Ying-wah (pic) signed on Tuesday (Jan 9) a protocol amending the free trade agreement between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Association of South-East Asian Nations that would help enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong products.
Yau signed the First Protocol to Amend the FTA between the Asean and the HKSAR to update its Product Specific Rules of origin, increasing their coverage from more than 200 categories of products to almost 600, according to an HKSAR government statement.
This will enable Hong Kong businesses to more easily and effectively gain Hong Kong-originating status for more of their products, providing them with preferential tariff treatment when expanding into the growing Asean market.
"Asean is Hong Kong’s second-largest trading partner in merchandise trade with a total trade volume of around HK$1,294 billion (US$165.59 billion) in 2022, representing a growth of over 38 per cent since the signing of the FTA in 2017,” Yau was quoted as saying in the statement.
“Our burgeoning trade has been uplifted by the FTA, signifying the latter’s importance in consolidating our position as an international trade centre," he added.
The specified products incorporated into the FTA through the protocol include various categories of products of interest to Hong Kong traders and manufacturers, including jewelry, medicaments, food and textiles.
The signing of the protocol will help enhance the competitiveness of the products and trade flows, creating more business opportunities for Hong Kong businesses in the Asean market, according to the statement.
"I have full confidence that the implementation of the protocol will further drive growth in our economic and trade relations with the Asean member states,” Yau said.
"As a staunch proponent of free trade, Hong Kong, joining hands with our trading partners, will continue to strive for further liberalization of trade in the region," he added.