Date
24 November 2017
Bernard Chan says taking part in the RCEP would prevent Hong Kong from being excessively reliant on trade with mainland China. Photo: HKEJ
Bernard Chan says taking part in the RCEP would prevent Hong Kong from being excessively reliant on trade with mainland China. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong urged to join ASEAN-based trade grouping

Hong Kong should join the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to enhance the city’s competitive advantage, a deputy to the National People’s Congress said.

Bernard Charnwut Chan, who is also an executive councilor, said the RCEP, also known as ASEAN+6, could help the city’s enterprises expand their businesses in Southeast Asia, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Monday.

Chan said the business environment has changed to the extent that the city’s development potential could be dampened should it keep itself out of the partnership.

The RCEP includes the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

China is seeking to build a free trade zone based on the RCEP that can counteract the influence of the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Beijing has signed free trade agreements with 20 of its counterparts in the region, covering a combined 30 percent of foreign trade by value.

Given that Hong Kong is unlikely to enter the TPP, it would be wise to take part in the ASEAN+6 grouping, Chan said.

It would strengthen Hong Kong’s bargaining power in relation to Beijing to have regional trade links instead of relying exclusively on the mainland Chinese market, he said. 

Translation by Vey Wong [Chinese version中文版]

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