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Asean signs free trade, investment pacts with Hong Kong

 Publish date: Mon, 13 Nov 2017, 04:13 PM

MANILA: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Hong Kong signed a free trade agreement and a bilateral investment pact on Nov 12 on the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN Summit and related meetings in Philippines' Manila, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

The pacts, which needed nearly three years of talks, are expected to become effective on Jan 1, 2018, and help the two sides gain deeper and bolder access to each other's market and intensify bilateral trade and investment.

Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said that the agreements will create new business opportunities, and enhance trade and investment flows for Hong Kong business people.

"In the face of protectionist sentiments in other parts of the world, these two agreements are in fact a loud and clear vote from all of us here for freer and more open trade," Yau said.

Meanwhile, Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said that they will bring about more job opportunities for the region's people and businesses, particularly small firms.

ASEAN and Hong Kong began their negotiations on the two pacts in July 2014 and completed them in September 2017.

ASEAN was Hong Kong's second largest goods trade partner in 2016 and fourth services trade partner in 2015. Meanwhile, Hong Kong was the bloc's sixth trade partner in 2016, with trade turnover hitting US$107 billion, accounting for over four per cent of the bloc's total trade values.

Hong Kong's direct investment in ASEAN reached US$9.6 billion last year, making up 9.9 per cent of the total FDI in the bloc.

- BERNAMA

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