Published: 10:01, May 19, 2024 | Updated: 10:31, May 19, 2024
Yau urges APEC member economies to reaffirm free trade commitment
By Wang Zhan

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Algernon Yau Ying-wah (front row, second right),speaks at a discussion session on "Trade Facilitation and Trade and Inclusion" at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in Arequipa, Peru, on May 18, 2024. Looking on is Director-General of Trade and Industry Maggie Wong (front row, first right). (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

HONG KONG - Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Algernon Yau Ying-wah called on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies on Saturday to reaffirm the goal of an eventual Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific that fulfils the promise of shared prosperity for the region.

Speaking during a session at the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting in Arequipa, Peru, Yau said that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership have long been recognized as possible pathways to the FTAAP.

Yau stressed that Hong Kong is steadfastly committed to ensuring that the benefits of trade are accessible to all, particularly traditionally underrepresented groups such as micro, small and medium enterprises and women

"As a testament to our commitment to regional economic integration towards the FTAAP, Hong Kong is actively seeking early accession to the RCEP and expanding our trade agreement network, including negotiating a new free trade agreement with Peru," Yau said.

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He urged all APEC economies to commit to promoting greater openness and inclusiveness in regional economic integration initiatives, ensuring these efforts are accessible and can benefit all member economies while addressing trade issues that are of shared interests.

During another session, Yau stressed that Hong Kong is steadfastly committed to ensuring that the benefits of trade are accessible to all, particularly traditionally underrepresented groups such as micro, small and medium enterprises and women.

He briefed other trade ministers on a number of funding programs and initiatives the SAR has been implementing to facilitate trade and assist MSMEs and women entrepreneurs in developing overseas markets, undertaking e-commerce and capitalizing on digitalization.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Algernon Yau Ying-wah (third right), meets with Deputy Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry of Malaysia Liew Chin Tong (second right) to exchange views on various trade and economic issues on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in Arequipa, Peru, on May 18, 2024. Looking on is Director-General of Trade and Industry Maggie Wong (first left). (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

Those initiatives include the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales, the Trade Single Window, and the $2.6 million Women Empowerment Fund that seeks to support women's development.

He also met with Deputy Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry of Malaysia Liew Chin Tong to exchange views on various trade and economic issues on the sidelines of the APEC meeting.

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With the conclusion of the meeting, Yau will return to Hong Kong on Wednesday morning.