Chief Executive discusses strengthening connections with ASEAN in meeting with Secretary-General

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10th July 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Mr. John Lee, held a meeting with the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, to explore avenues for enhancing ties with ASEAN member states. Accompanying Mr. Lee were the Deputy Financial Secretary, Mr. Michael Wong, and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr. Algernon Yau.

Mr. Lee warmly welcomed Dr. Kao and his delegation to Hong Kong, acknowledging the longstanding close trade and economic relations between Hong Kong and ASEAN. He emphasized that ASEAN has consistently been Hong Kong’s second-largest trading partner. Following the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Investment Agreement between Hong Kong and ASEAN, trade and investments between the two sides have experienced substantial growth. In fact, bilateral trade in goods between Hong Kong and ASEAN reached US$144.6 billion last year.

Highlighting Hong Kong’s commitment to fostering cooperation, Mr. Lee affirmed that the city will continue to promote collaboration with ASEAN in trade and investments. Earlier this year, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government signed the First Protocol to Amend the FTA between ASEAN and Hong Kong. This protocol updates the Product Specific Rules (PSRs) of origin under the FTA, expanding the coverage and enabling Hong Kong businesses to more easily attain Hong Kong-originating status for a broader range of specified products. Consequently, they can enjoy preferential tariff treatment when venturing into the ASEAN market, enhancing the competitiveness of the products and facilitating trade flows. Additionally, the HKSAR Government has enhanced people-to-people exchange and experience sharing through the Economic and Technical Cooperation Work Programme under the FTA.

Expressing his gratitude, Mr. Lee extended his appreciation to Dr. Kao and ASEAN member states for their continuous support of Hong Kong’s accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). He expressed his commitment to maintain open communication with the ASEAN Secretariat on relevant matters and sought support from other stakeholders to expedite Hong Kong’s inclusion in RCEP.

Mr. Lee expressed his aspirations to visit various ASEAN member states in the future, aiming to further strengthen Hong Kong’s relationships with them and elevate cooperation with ASEAN to new heights. By forging closer ties and engaging in meaningful dialogue, Hong Kong aims to deepen its economic and diplomatic connections within the ASEAN region.

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