This photo dated Sept 5, 2018 shows a general view of a Hong Kong container port at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound in Hong Kong. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)
HONG KONG - The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will help boost Hong Kong’s long-term economic growth in the post-pandemic era, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah said Wednesday.
Replying to a query at the Legislative Council, Yau said he was already liaising with the trade ministers of a number of RCEP participating economies to start discussions on Hong Kong joining the world’s largest free trade zone “as early as possible” after it takes effect.
Joining the RCEP will enable Hong Kong's goods and enterprises to benefit from tariff reduction, preferential market access, removal of trade barriers and simplified customs procedures
“It will help lower the costs of trading and bring about new business opportunities for Hong Kong's goods and enterprises in expanding their markets in the region, thereby providing a momentous drive to global economic recovery in the post-pandemic era,” Yau said.
He said joining the RCEP will strengthen the economic, trade, and investment ties between Hong Kong and the RCEP participating economies and enable Hong Kong's goods and enterprises to benefit from tariff reduction, preferential market access, removal of trade barriers and simplified customs procedures.
Yau said this will facilitate Hong Kong's further integration into the regional value chain and drive regional economic growth.
Fifteen economies including the Chinese mainland, the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand signed the RCEP in November last year.
RCEP covers about 30 per cent of the world's population and accounts for one-third of the global gross domestic product, Yau said.
In the past three years, the total merchandise trade between Hong Kong and the 15 RCEP participating economies amounted to US$807.9 billion, US$765.5 billion and US$772 billion respectively, he added.
Yau said the HKSAR government indicated, as early as in 2018, to individual RCEP participating economies at various levels and on various occasions Hong Kong's keen interest in joining the RCEP.
He said the HKSAR government will make use of various platforms, including the Trade and Industry Advisory Board, to brief enterprises on the RCEP so that they can seize the new business opportunities it brings to Hong Kong.
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