A new free trade agreement between Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been successfully negotiated.
Talks over a new free trade plan and a related investment agreement came to a conclusion during the recent ASEAN Economic Ministers-Hong Kong, China Consultations, with the finalized agreements to be signed in November.
Active discussions over these comprehensive deals have been ongoing since July 2014, with commitments encompassing trade in goods and services, as well as investment, economic and technical cooperation, and dispute settlement mechanisms.
It is expected that the deal will deliver numerous benefits for Hong Kong by enhancing its economic ties to the ten ASEAN member states: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Hong Kong's secretary for commerce and economic development Edward Yau said: "ASEAN is a very important trading partner of Hong Kong. It was our second-largest trading partner in merchandise trade in 2016 and the fourth largest in services trade in 2015.
"Our economy stands to benefit from the free trade agreement and the investment agreement, which will bring us more and better access to the ASEAN markets, create new business opportunities and further enhance trade and investment flows."
Total merchandise trade between Hong Kong and the ASEAN bloc was valued at $833 billion (€693.76 billion) last year, while the value of bilateral trade in services came to $121 billion in 2015.
Moreover, ASEAN ranked sixth among Hong Kong's destinations of outward direct investment with a stock of $218 billion as of the end of 2015, while also ranking as the Chinese special administrative region's sixth-biggest source of inward investment over the same timeframe, with a stock of $555 billion.