By NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
The Asean-Hong Kong free trade agreement (FTA) which will be signed at the Asean Summit in Manila next week will become effective from January 2019 onwards.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the 10-member economies of Asean are expected to ratify the agreement without any hitches.
“Once this agreement is ratified, we expect it to be in force from Jan 1, 2019.
Wee said Malaysia will benefit from the trade agreement between Asean and Hong Kong, which registered a total trade of RM451.71 billion in 2016.
Speaking at the InStyle Hong Kong Symposium yesterday, Wee said Hong Kong has also agreed to allocate RM13.53 million in five instalments to implement economic cooperation programmes between the two regions.
The programmes, including customs, logistics and e-commerce, and professional services, will boost trade links between Hong Kong and the region.
Malaysia-Hong Kong’s trade increased by RM1.35 billion year-on-year in September, with Malaysia’s exports totalling RM4.58 billion. For the first nine months of the year, bilateral trade amounted to RM32.34 billion, fuelled by electrical and electronic exports.
Hong Kong Trade Development Council chairman Vincent HS Lo said that Hong Kong invested RM15.23 billion in Malaysia last year.