The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Hong Kong have concluded their free trade agreement (FTA), the signing of which is scheduled this November, marking the first FTA signed by Asean in nearly the past decade.
In making this announcement on Saturday, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo did not say when the agreement was actually concluded, given that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) had been announcing the signing of the Asean-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) this November for months now.
Moreover, they also concluded the Asean-Hong Kong-China Investment Agreement (AHKIA).
“These agreements would level up our already vibrant trade and investments relations as this would mean increased market access for Filipino exporters,” Rodolfo said. “Likewise, for those who have not yet set their foothold in Hong Kong, this would mean new expansion opportunity.”
According to Rodolfo, Hong Kong is the third largest export market for Philippine products in 2016..
AHKFTA covers elements related to trade in goods and related issues such as tariffs, rules of origin, non-tariff measures, customs procedures and trade facilitation, trade remedies, technical barriers to trade, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
The trade deal also covers trade in services, investment, intellectual property rights, dispute settlement, horizontal and institutional issues, economic and technical cooperation, and other areas of interest to be mutually agreed on.
Hong Kong is Asean’s sixth largest trading partner last year, with the total bilateral merchandise trade reaching $93.3 billion, or 4.2 percent of Asean total trade last year, data showed.
On the other hand, total foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from Hong Kong to Asean reached $9.6 billion or 9.9 per cent of Asean total FDI in 2016.