ESC welcomes the closer collaboration between Hong Kong and ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. A free trade agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and ASEAN should be signed in November 2017. ESC has through its network in Asia and the Asian Shippers’ Alliance lobbied for this FTA. Shippers’ councils from Macao and Thailand are presently meeting in Bangkok to support the trade negotiations.
The FTA will allow Hong Kong shippers to enjoy reduced export tariffs to ASEAN countries, while ASEAN shippers in turn will be able to buy a lot of material and products at a lower price. According to the WTO rules, a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) should cover “substantially all trade”. Capacity building in logistics, e-commerce and customs will be part of the arrangement.
The agreement between ASEAN and Hong Kong would be the 6th FTA between the ASEAN association and other trading countries in the region. As Hong-Kong and China have a close collaboration in the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), the new FTA between Hong-Kong and China will potentially also boast the trade between ASEAN countries and mainland China.