Hong Kong-ASEAN free trade deal 'could be signed this year'

Legislation | | MIC Customs Solutions |

A new free trade agreement between Hong Kong and the ASEAN bloc could be signed within the year, according to an official.

Officials are aiming to put pen to paper on a new free trade agreement between Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) before the end of 2017.

Hong Kong's secretary for financial services and the treasury KC Chan stated during an event marking the 20th anniversary of the region's return to Chinese rule that plans for a new deal between Hong Kong and ASEAN could come to fruition soon.

He said: "We certainly hope to take the regional co-operation to a higher level. After around three years of negotiations, we would love to conclude and sign the free trade agreement with ASEAN within this year."

The ASEAN bloc - which consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam - is Hong Kong's second largest trading partner, after mainland China.

Bilateral merchandise trade value has grown by a cumulative 72 per cent over the past ten years, with Singapore ranking first in terms of trade in goods with Hong Kong among the ten ASEAN member states.