ECONOMY | Cesar Tordesillas, Hong Kong

Asean to ascertain effects of Hong Kong's entry to free trade area with China

Asean memebrs will study the economic benefits and implications of Hong Kong joining the Asean-China free trade area.


Asean agrees that Hong Kong, a free trade port and a regional logistics hub supported by excellent infrastructures and an integrated network of air, land and sea links, would be able to play an important role in the global and regional trade arena, according to Malaysia's International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

The ministers at the Asean Economic Ministers meeting also noted that Hong Kong, an international trade and financial centre, was well positioned to raise funds and finance businesses venturing into new areas as well as for "match-making," activities.

It was also acknowledged that Hong Kong was the second largest partner for Asean in 2010 with an annual average growth rate of 8.2 per cent from 2006 to 2010.

Trade volume had exceeded US$85.4 billion in 2010, with a trade surplus of US$36.7 billion or 43 percent in favour of Asean.

The two-way trade between Asean and Hong Kong amounted to US$10.6 billion in 2009 with an annual average growth rate of 7.4 per cent from 2005 to 2009.

"Asean was the fourth largest trade partner for Hong Kong in the services sector in 2009, representing 8.3 per cent of its trade value. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines are among its top 20 trading partners," he said.

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