The Straits Times - 07 June 2021
HK keen on starting formal talks on joining RCEP, says official
Hong Kong is looking forward to commencing formal dialogues on its accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) when the partnership is ready to take on new members, a government official said last Saturday.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau made the remarks at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) videoconference.
High-quality regional free trade deals would bring tangible economic benefits and boost the foundation of the regional economy, Mr Yau said. He called on economies to support the rules-based multilateral trading system and deepen regional economic integration towards the eventual realisation of an Asia-Pacific free trade area.
While the global economy struggles amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Yau stressed the importance of restoring cross-border travel as a crucial way to support economic recovery and revitalise hard-hit sectors such as tourism.
Hong Kong stands ready to collaborate with other Apec member economies in advancing relevant initiatives while balancing public health considerations, he said.
The RCEP groups the 10 Asean members and Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.