Asean, Hong Kong to sign free trade agreement
Asean and Hong Kong are signing free trade agreement on this Saturday. This will further enhance ties between Asean and Hong Kong, says Minister in the Prime Minister`s Department Wee Ka Siong.
After attending the launch of “In Style ∙ Hong Kong” Symposium organized by Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Wee said the agreement would take effect on 1 Jan 2019.
Hong Kong has agreed to allocate HKD $25 million (USD 3.2 million) to launch economic collaboration plan in five stages covering customs, logistics, e-commerce and professional service.
“Economy and Technical Joint Committee would be implementing the programmes together with Asean secretariat so that Asean and Hong Kong would have more effective and efficient trade links.”
He said once Asean and Hong Kong sign free trade agreement and investment agreement, Malaysia will abolish import tax for some of the products. This simplifies import regulations. He said last year trade volume between Asean and Hong Kong reached USD 106.8 billion.
Malaysia will share the gain once the agreement is signed. “Compared to same period last year, out trade volume with Hong Kong increased to RM1.35 billion (USD 321 million) last month.” Up till September this year, he said export of Malaysia to Hong Kong reached RM32.339 billion (USD 7.70 billion).
For the month of September, the sum was RM4.58 billion (USD 1.09 billion).They were mainly subsectors of electronics and electrical.
“Malaysia will continue to maintain good collaboration ties with Hong Kong. Hong Kong people and Malaysians are close in ties too. In the first quarter of this year, Hong Kong records the fastest economic growth in the past six years.”
Wee said Malaysia’s growth can be witnessed by all. The government continues to invest in various high efficiency project to boost economic development such as oil and gas industry, logistics, rail and robots, expand cargo capacity in ports, easier cargo transport procedures, East Coast Rail Line linking east cost to Klang Valley, Digital Free Trade Zone and others.
Wee said Malaysia develops export in a proactive manner. It allocated RM150 million (USD 35.29 million) to boost the development of export market. “Up till September the export volume records double digit growth compared to same period last year with an increase of 14.8% or RM78.26 billion (USD 18.41 biillion).
The increase up till September this year is 21.3% or RM690.25 billion (USD 162.41 bil).” Present at the event are Rimsky Yuen, Hong Kong secretary for Justice, Vincent HS Lo, chairman of Hong Kong Trade Development Council, speaker Royce Yuen, CEO of MaLogic, Joseph Phi, president of LF Logistics, Kevin Huang, CEO of Pixels Ltd and Nicholas Ho, Deputy Managing Director of hpa.
Yuen pointed out that after Asean and Hong Kong sign free trade agreement and investment agreement, apart from enhancing ties between Asean and Hong Kong, Asean is also eyeing global market through China. On penetrating into Chinese market, Hong Kong can play the role as coordinator.
“Asean especially Malaysian enterprises are able to penetrate into Chinese market in a better way.”Last year, Malaysia is Hong Kong’s 10th largest trading partner, also the source of foreign direct investment.
Malaysia is Hong Kong’s 14th largest direct investment country, also the 10th external investment country of Hong Kong. Malaysia and Hong Kong signed bilateral tax agreement since 2012. “On tourism, more than 500,000 Malaysians visited Hong Kong last year.
Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Penang are favorite tourism destinations of Hong Kong people.” Lo said Hong Kong is Malaysia’s largest source of direct investment which stood at USD3.6 billion last year, an increase of 50% compared to previous two years.
Malaysia is Hong Kong’s fourth largest trade partner. He said Malaysia is located in the center of the One Belt One Road initiative. This initiative will offer Malaysia immense business opportunities which require business sector of both Malaysia and Hong Kong to jointly develop them.
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