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Hong Kong's Government has initiated a public consultation on the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
"ASEAN (whose ten member countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) is an important trading partner of Hong Kong. An FTA will enable our goods, services and investments to access the ASEAN market under more favorable conditions, boost the economic growth of Hong Kong and create job opportunities," a Government spokesman said.
With the support of the Chinese Government, and following ASEAN's recent consent, formal FTA negotiations between the two sides are due to commence in July, and the agreement will cover the elimination or reduction of tariffs; rules of origin; the liberalization of trade in services; the liberalization, promotion and protection of investment; and intellectual property co-operation.
ASEAN is the second largest trading partner of Hong Kong in terms of goods and the fourth largest in terms of services. ASEAN is also the fifth largest destination of foreign direct investment (FDI) from Hong Kong and the sixth largest source of FDI into Hong Kong.
Earlier this month, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Gregory So, had commented that, "with the Chinese Government's policy of helping enterprises in both the Mainland and Hong Kong to 'go global' together, the potential investment from the Mainland to ASEAN through Hong Kong would be enormous."
Interested parties are invited to provide their views by July 7, 2014, on the market access and trade rules of the ASEAN member countries, as well as the other elements of the FTA. The Government will make reference to these views during the negotiations with ASEAN.
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