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Saturday, August 6, 2016, 18:52

HK, ASEAN eye conclusion of FTA by year end

By Xinhua

VIENTIANE - Trade chiefs of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said here Saturday that they look forward to the timely conclusion of free trade talks between the two sides by this year.

At a meeting between economic ministers from the 10-member ASEAN states and So Kam-leung, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong SAR, participants agreed that the ASEAN-Hong Kong free trade agreement (FTA) would strengthen economic ties between the two sides.

The meeting was held as part of the 48th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting and related regional talks which started here Wednesday.

Trade chiefs from both sides welcomed the steady progress of the negotiations for the ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA, noting that the mutually beneficial FTA would help generate more business opportunities and stimulate further economic growth in the region,  said a statement issued after the meeting.

Total merchandise trade between Hong Kong SAR and ASEAN reached $90 billion in 2015, while foreign direct investment flowed from Hong Kong to ASEAN amounted to $3.4 billion, statistics from ASEAN showed.

ASEAN ministers at the meeting also expressed appreciation to Hong Kong for its commitment to undertake economic and technical cooperation program to support the implementation of the ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA upon its entry into force, said the statement.

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