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Hong Kong uniquely placed to add value to RCEP members: HKSAR chief executive

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-10-10 09:44

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong is uniquely placed to add value to the member states of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, John Lee, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), said Monday.

"We are the value-adding gateway connecting our country to the rest of the world, and that very much includes ASEAN," he said in a speech at the Hong Kong-ASEAN Summit 2023.

Lee stressed that the "one country, two systems" principle bestows upon Hong Kong unparalleled connectivity to the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world.

Last year, about 79 billion U.S. dollars worth of merchandise trade between ASEAN and the Chinese mainland was routed through Hong Kong, he noted.

Hong Kong offers a business-friendly environment, a robust financial regulatory regime, and a simple and low tax system to traders, investors and companies, large, small and just starting up, all premised on the rule of law, he said.

Hong Kong can capitalize on its strengths as a professional services hub to help ASEAN countries realize projects in urban and infrastructural management, logistics, architectural design and engineering, legal and trade arbitration and much more, said Lee.

Since 2010, ASEAN has been Hong Kong's second-largest merchandise trading partner, with trade last year reaching an all-time high of 165 billion dollars, according to Lee.

Entered into force in 2022, the RCEP agreement comprises 15 Asia-Pacific countries, including 10 ASEAN member states -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -- and their five trading partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

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