ASEAN, Hong Kong ink trade, investment pacts
The 10-member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed trade and investment agreements with Hong Kong on Sunday.
The ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) and ASEAN ? Hong Kong Investment Agreement (AHKIA) were inked at the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Manila.
“This will open more opportunities for ASEAN as we ensure greater market access for our products and sustained flow of foreign direct investments (FDI),” said Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, this year’s Chairperson of the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM).
He said the agreements would provide job opportunities for people and enhance collaboration among businesses, particularly the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector.
AHKFTA is ASEAN’s sixth free trade agreement (FTA) with external partners, after ASEAN-China FTA (ACFTA), ASEAN-Korea FTA (AKFTA), ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP), ASEAN-India FTA (AIFTA), and ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA).
It covers trade in goods, rules of origin, non-tariff measures, customs procedures and trade facilitation, trade remedies, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade in services, intellectual property rights, and economic and technical cooperation.
In the case of the Philippines, DTI said the deals provide more opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as to the country’s export industries, given Hong Kong's role as gateway to the China market and their annual tourist arrivals.
From January to August, Hong Kong was the Philippines' third top export destination with $5.55 billion worth of exports equivalent to 13.18 percent of the country’s total exports.
Approved investments from Hong Kong for the first semester of 2017 amounted to $10.74 million, making it the 12th source of investments of the country. Celerina Monte/DMS