Transcript of remarks by SCED on HK-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement at media session
Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at a media session after a meeting with representatives of the five major chambers of commerce in Hong Kong on matters relating to the Free Trade Agreement between Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and issues of concern to Hong Kong enterprises operating on the Mainland, at the Central Government Offices, Tamar, today (June 16):
Reporter: How is the Free Trade Agreement going to benefit Hong Kong?
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: We are very pleased to announce that we will commence the negotiation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and ASEAN. Today is a great opportunity to see the representatives of the five major chambers of commerce in Hong Kong, to gather from them information on what are the major considerations insofar as the negotiation with the representatives of the ASEAN countries is concerned. The negotiation will commence in the middle of July, and this is the time when we are consulting the public in general as to which specific sector or measure that they have in mind, that will enhance our trading position with our ASEAN partners.
Reporter: Any special challenges that you will face during the process of negotiation?
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: I think the challenge would be one of timing. We note that the negotiation process between ASEAN economies with a third-party FTA partner will usually take about two to three years to complete. As you know, we in Hong Kong like to do things fast, so the challenge will be to expeditiously complete the negotiation and reap the benefit of the FTA for both the ASEAN economies and the Hong Kong economy.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Monday, June 16, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:08