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Proposed Asean-Hong Kong FTA has Manila’s backing

BusinessMirror, Philippines

Proposed Asean-Hong Kong FTA has Manila’s backing

By Catherine N. Pillas

10 Apr 2014

Manila is strongly supporting the proposed Asean-Hong Kong free-trade agreement (FTA) as this would further ease the flow of trade between China and the Philippines.

“From the Philippines’s perspective, it would make sense for us to have an FTA with Hong Kong. We’re still undertaking studies but a big part of our trade with China goes through Hong Kong so it would make sense to reduce friction so that we can benefit more from an increased trade volume, both ways,” Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said

The trade chief said exporters of electronic products and the services sector would greatly benefit from the FTA with Hong Kong.

“We also see the opportunity of lowering facilitation costs in entering into China through Hong Kong so the Asean-Hong Kong could play a part in that,” Trade Assistant Secretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo said.

Around 30 percent to 40 percent of the country’s trade with China goes through Hong Kong.

Asean and Hong Kong agreed to pursue a free-trade agreement last year. It is still in the scoping stage but is progressing at a reasonable pace.