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Seizing opportunities by enhancing economic and trade co-operation with ASEAN

This afternoon, I hosted a lunch at Government House for the economic ministers of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states visiting Hong Kong and exchanged views with them on our economic and trade relations.
As an externally oriented international trade and financial centre, Hong Kong needs to continuously enhance its economic and trade relations with both the Mainland of China and foreign countries in order to boost our competitiveness and long-term economic growth.

As our second largest trading partner in goods and the fourth largest in services, ASEAN has close trade and economic ties with Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government is pushing ahead with preparatory work for discussion with ASEAN on a Hong Kong-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) so that formal negotiations can commence early next year.

At the lunch, I highlighted Hong Kong's role as a super-connector in the trade and economic activities between the Mainland of China and ASEAN countries. With our connections and experience in the Mainland, Hong Kong can act as an important intermediary to facilitate trade and economic activities between ASEAN and the Mainland of China, thus benefiting all three parties.

Hong Kong enjoys the advantages of both "One Country" and "Two Systems". With a high degree of autonomy, the HKSAR Government can on its own negotiate an FTA directly with ASEAN. We should lose no time in seizing the opportunities presented by "One Country, Two Systems" and the continuous reform and opening up of our country to boost Hong Kong's economic development and provide more and better development opportunities for all sectors in Hong Kong.

Photo Photo

October 22, 2013