Signing ceremony of the AHKFTA and AHKIA (Photo：People's Daily)
Manila (People's Daily) - Hong Kong, China and ASEAN signed the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) and the ASEAN-Hong Kong Investment Agreement (AHKIA) in Manila, Philippines on November 12.
Both sides agree to strengthen vibrant trade and economic relations. The two agreements are part of the region’s continuous efforts in expanding external economic ties for the ASEAN Economic Community.
"All ASEAN member states are also economies along the Belt and Road. The agreements will extend Hong Kong's FTA and investment agreement network to cover all major economies in Southeast Asia. The closer ties forged will enhance Hong Kong's role as a trading and investment hub and cater for our strategy to tap the business opportunities offered by the Belt and Road Initiative,” said Edward Yau, secretary for Commerce & Economic Development of Hong Kong SAR, China.
“This will open more opportunities for ASEAN as we ensure increased market access for our products and sustained flow of direct foreign investment,” said Roman Lopez, trade and industry secretary of the Philippines and chairman of the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) this year.
The agreements are expected to come into effect on January 1, 2019, at the earliest, subject to the completion of necessary procedures of Hong Kong, China and the ASEAN member states.
AHKFTA is the sixth free trade agreement between ASEAN and external partners. For the first eight months of 2017, Hong Kong, China served as the Philippines’ third top export destination with USD 5.55 billion exports equivalent to 13.18% of Philippines’ total exports. Meanwhile, approved investments from Hong Kong, China for the first semester of 2017 amounted to USD 10.74 million, making it the 12th source of investment for the Philippines.