Jakarta (ANTARA News) - ASEAN and Hong Kong have concluded negotiations on a free trade agreement and a related investment agreement at the second ASEAN Economic Ministers-Hong Kong, China Consultations (AEM-HKC Consultations) held in Pasay, the Philippines, on Sept 9.

The two agreements will be signed during the 13th ASEAN Summit to be held in the Philippines in Nov this year, Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita stated recently.

Besides discussing preparations for the signing of the agreements, the ASEAN and Hong Kong economic ministers at the meeting also agreed to endorse Economic and Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH) Work Program, which will serve as a guide to implement cooperation in capacity building, particularly for ASEAN member states.

One of Hong Kongs commitments to enhance economic cooperation with ASEAN is realized through a financing scheme to implement ECOTECH work program worth HK$25 million or US$3.2 million for five years.

"Indonesia will benefit from the scheme to increase its capacity in several areas of cooperation, including professional services; micro, small, and medium business; customs; trade or logistic facilitation; and e-commerce," he noted.

He expressed hope that Indonesia will be able to take maximum advantage of Hong Kongs potentials as a hub to increase its trade.

Data from the ASEAN Secretariat reveal Hong Kong to be ASEANs sixth largest trade partner last year. Trade between ASEAN and Hong Kong reached $93.3 trillion, accounting for 4.2 percent of the regional groupings trade with the rest of the world.

Hong Kongs foreign direct investment (FDI) in ASEAN was recorded at $9.6 billion last year, accounting for 9.9 percent of the total FDI in the region in the same year.

ASEAN also has a chance to enhance cooperation with Japan, as shown at the 23nd AEM-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan Consultations.

At the meeting, the ministers also warmly welcomed the progress achieved in the implementation of ASEAN-Japan 10-year Strategic Economic Cooperation Roadmap in various sectors, including, human resources development, infrastructure development, innovation, and transfer of technology.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2017