Free trade agreement between Hong Kong and 5 ASEAN member states to take effect

A garment factory in Vietnam (Photo: VNA). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HANOI, May 19, 2019, VNA. Those parts relating to Hong Kong and five Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries, under the Investment Agreement (IA) between Hong Kong and ASEAN, will enter into force on June 17, a spokesperson for China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government was cited by China’s Xinhua News Agency on May 16, reported the Vietnam News Agency.

Upon the entry into force of the mentioned IA, the five ASEAN member countries, namely Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, will provide Hong Kong enterprises investing in their areas with fair and equitable treatment of their investments, physical protection and security of their investments, and the assurance on the free transfer of their investments and returns.

Meanwhile, parts relating to Hong Kong and Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam under the free trade agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and ASEAN will take effect on June 11.

Upon the implementation of the mentioned FTA, Singapore will bind all its customs duties at zero, whereas Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam will progressively reduce or eliminate their customs duties on goods originating from Hong Kong. The tariff reduction commitments cover various kinds of Hong Kong commodities including jewelry, articles of apparel and clothing accessories, watches and clocks and toys.

On trade in services, Hong Kong service providers will enjoy legally binding market access conditions and thus benefit from the enhanced business opportunities in a wide range of services sectors.

Hong Kong and ASEAN signed the FTA and the IA at the end of 2017. The dates of entry into force for the remaining five ASEAN member countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.

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