The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Tuesday signed the first protocol to amend free trade agreement (FTA) with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to boost economic and trade ties.
The deal is to update the Product Specific Rules (PSR) of origin under the FTA, enhancing the coverage of the PSR from more than 200 categories of products to almost 600.
The specified products incorporated into the FTA through the protocol include various categories of products of interest to Hong Kong traders and manufacturers, such as jewellery, medicaments, food products and textile products.
Hong Kong businesses will be allowed to more easily and effectively gain Hong Kong-originating status for an increased number of specified products, and thus enjoy preferential tariff treatment when expanding into the growing ASEAN market.
"I have full confidence that the implementation of the protocol will further drive growth in our economic and trade relations with ASEAN member states," said Algernon Yau, secretary for commerce and economic development of the HKSAR government.
Yau said as a staunch proponent of free trade, Hong Kong, joining hands with its trading partners, will continue to strive for further liberalization of trade in the region.
ASEAN is Hong Kong's second-largest trading partner in merchandize trade with a total trade volume of around 1.3 trillion Hong Kong dollars (about $165.5 billion) in 2022, representing a growth of over 38 percent since the signing of the FTA in 2017.
(Cover: A general view shows a cargo container being loaded onto a ship at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China, May 12, 2021. /CFP)