Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam visited Thailand from November 28 to 29. She signed with Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak in Bangkok on Friday the memorandums of understanding (MoU) on strengthening economic relations between Hong Kong and Thailand.
Both sides signed a total of six MoUs, the other five are related to creativity, securities cross-listing between Thailand and Hong Kong, innovation, human resources development and startups.
Lam said this is the fourth time to visit Thailand since she became the chief executive of HKSAR, and the collaboration between the two sides has brought great opportunities for enterprises.
The six MoUs are positive opportunities, said Lam, expecting that both Hong Kong and Thailand can seek closer partnership and greatly benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in the future.
Hong Kong establishing ETO in Bangkok
At the end of February, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (ETO) was inaugurated in Bangkok, This is the third ETO in ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region, after Jakarta and Singapore, for deeper economic and trade relations and cooperation, Lam cited.
According to Lam, the establishment of the Bangkok office is a clear and compelling statement of the importance of ASEAN to Hong Kong.
The Bangkok office is expected to play the role of facilitator to connect businesses and organizations between Hong Kong and Thailand, and serve as a catalyst to take the bilateral cooperation to new heights and fresh directions.
Somkid Jatusripitak said Thailand aims to use Hong Kong as a gateway to China's Greater Bay Area and expected more investment from the Greater Bay Area.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang paid an official visit to Thailand in Bangkok on November 5. The two countries agreed to boost bilateral cooperation between China's Greater Bay Area and Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), to increase connectivity between the two areas and beyond.
FTA between HK and Thailand coming into effect
As part of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and ASEAN, tariff reduction and services market access between Hong Kong and Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand took effect on June 11.
Upon the implementation, Singapore will be committed to binding all its customs duties at zero, while Myanmar and Thailand will progressively reduce and eliminate their customs duties on goods originating from Hong Kong.
The tariff reduction commitments cover different kinds of Hong Kong commodities including jewelry, articles of apparel and clothing accessories, watches and clocks, and toys.
On trade in services, Hong Kong service providers will enjoy better business opportunities and legal certainty in market access for a comprehensive range of services sectors.
The Hong Kong SAR and ASEAN signed the FTA and a related investment agreement in November 2017 on the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN summit in the Philippines.
Thailand is the ninth-largest trading partner of Hong Kong and the two economies have great potential for cooperation in the fields of information and communications technology, consumer products, and transportation.
According to the Commerce Ministry of Thailand, the two-way trade between Thailand and Hong Kong was valued at 15.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, with exports worth 12.5 billion U.S. dollars and imports worth 2.9 billion U.S. dollars.