China / HK Macao Taiwan

HK to play unique role in advancing China-ASEAN cooperation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-11-11 18:50

NAY PYI TAW - Hong Kong will play a unique role in promoting China-ASEAN cooperation and helping bring bilateral relations to a new and higher level, a senior Hong Kong entrepreneur said ahead of an ASEAN summit slated for Wednesday and Thursday.

The China-ASEAN cooperation mainly includes goods trade, service trade and investment, while Hong Kong has advantages on all the three fields, especially the latter two, Dr. Jonathan Choi, permanent honorary president of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview with Xinhua.

"Hong Kong should be given full play in deepening the partnership between China and ASEAN," he said.

As a major international financial and trade hub, Hong Kong has an integrated network of institutions and markets, which provide a wide range of products and services to local and international customers and investors.

"The service industry in Hong Kong accounts for over 90 percent of GDP, buoying the city's prosperity," Choi said, adding that Hong Kong is ready to provide personnel and management services in China-ASEAN cooperation.

The 10-member ASEAN is Hong Kong's second largest trading partner with bilateral trade accounting for 10 percent of Hong Kong's gross trade volume last year, according to government data.

Bilateral trade between Hong Kong and ASEAN increased at an average annual rate of 9.5 percent over the last decade, higher than Hong Kong's 8.3-percent overall trade growth rate.

ASEAN is also Hong Kong's fourth largest trading partner in services and the fifth largest destination of foreign direct investment from Hong Kong.

Choi said Hong Kong has been investing in ASEAN for more than 50 years and has witnessed closer ties with the 10-member bloc, which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.The two sides started negotiations on a free trade agreement in July, the latest move to expand bilateral trade ties.

"The agreement would enable Hong Kong goods, services and investment to access the ASEAN market under more favorable conditions," Choi said.

As Hong Kong boasts extensive economic and trade network in ASEAN, Choi suggested that companies from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong bind together when investing in the bloc.

"Partnering with Hong Kong companies could reduce investment barriers and increase the probability of project success," Choi said.

An international financial center located in southern China, Hong Kong has served as a bridge connecting China and ASEAN. Enhancing cooperation with ASEAN will not only create growth opportunities for Hong Kong, but bring China-ASEAN ties to a new phase of development as well, he noted.

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