Hong Kong is planning to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with a view to strengthening the city as a gateway for trade, investment, and business between China and RCEP economies.
|Hong Kong is looking to join the RCEP |
The news was revealed at the virtual Sixth Belt and Road Summit with over 6,000 senior government officials and business leaders from more than 80 countries and regions. The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) shared the statements from Hong Kong's leaders about the RCEP.
Addressing the Belt and Road Summit, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that the regional economic integration fostered by the RCEP is an essential complement to multilateral trade, creating plentiful investment and market opportunities as well as driving global economic recovery in the post-pandemic era.
Pointing out that Hong Kong has much to offer the RCEP and the world at large, in particular in creating connections with mainland China through the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the Belt and Road Initiative, she said that Hong Kong is keen to begin formal discussions on accession as soon as RCEP is ready to take on new partners.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Financial Secretary Paul Chan that both the Belt and Road Initiative and RCEP are significant to the world and they are the perfect complement to each other. With many RCEP member economies located along the Belt and Road, he stressed that the infrastructural connectivity and the links in energy, transport, and communications brought about by the Belt and Road Initiative will assist these RCEP economies in taking full advantage of the enhanced market access promised by this accord.
He stressed that Hong Kong can serve the Belt and Road and RCEP equally well with its direct access to the mainland, deep liquidity pool, and outstanding financial infrastructure, as well as wide-ranging professional services.
He said that the strategic position of Hong Kong makes the city a gateway for trade, investment, and business between the mainland and other RCEP economies and therefore Hong Kong is a natural location for RCEP-based companies looking to set up headquarters in the region.
The RCEP agreement includes China and all ten ASEAN nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) in addition to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea.
Last year, Hong Kong's goods trade with the 15 RCEP economies totaled $772 billion, accounting for over 73 per cent of its total merchandise trade. Hong Kong services trade with the RCEP was valued $103 billion in 2019, accounting for roughly 60 per cent of the total services trade.