Published in Hong Kong News on 13.06.2019
Hong Kong News: ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement enters into force
The ASEAN – Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) entered into force on 11 June 2019 for Hong Kong and five ASEAN Member States, namely, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
Under the AHKFTA, Hong Kong and Singapore will grant tariff free access and will bind their customs duties at zero upon entry into force of the agreement. Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand will eliminate customs duties on 85% of products traded with Hong Kong within ten years and reduce another 10% of tariff lines within 14 years. Indonesia and Viet Nam will eliminate customs duties for 75% of their products within ten years, and reduce another 10% of tariff lines within 14 years. Meanwhile, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar will eliminate customs duties for 65% of their products within 15 years and reduce another 20% of tariff lines within 20 years.
“The entry into force of this FTA is a significant outcome that further enhances trade flows between ASEAN and Hong Kong,” said His Excellency Dato’ Lim Jock Hoi, the Secretary-General of ASEAN. “This is also reflective of ASEAN and Hong Kong’s support for a rules-based international trade system, and signals our commitment to strengthen trade and investment linkages among our nations,” His Excellency added.
The AHKFTA and ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Investment Agreement (AHKIA) were signed by ASEAN Economic Ministers and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong on 12 November 2017 in Pasay City, Philippines. The AHKIA is scheduled to enter into force on 17 June 2019 for Hong Kong and the five same ASEAN Member States. The remaining ASEAN Member States will complete their ratification processes for the AHKFTA and AHKIA this year.
The AHKFTA contains 14 chapters covering broad areas of market access liberalisation, trade facilitation, rules to promote confidence in trade, and cooperation aimed at facilitating trade in goods and services in the region. It is ASEAN’s sixth free trade agreement with external partners, after China, Korea, Japan, India, and Australia-New Zealand. The agreements can be found here.