HONG KONG, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong looks forward to commencing formal dialogues on its accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) when RCEP is ready to take on new partners, a government official of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said Saturday.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau made the remarks at a video conference of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
High-quality regional free trade agreements would bring tangible economic benefits and strengthen the foundation of the regional economy, he said, calling on economies to support the rules-based multilateral trading system and deepen regional economic integration towards the eventual realization of the free trade area of the Asia-Pacific.
While the global economy is struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Yau stressed the importance of restoring cross-border travel as a crucial way to support economic recovery and revitalize hard-hit sectors like tourism.
Hong Kong would stand ready to collaborate with other APEC member economies in advancing relevant initiatives while balancing public health considerations, he said.
The RCEP groups together the 10 ASEAN members -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -- plus Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.