ASEAN, Hong Kong hold consultations hinh anh 1Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh  (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
Economic ministers from 10 ASEAN member countries and Hong Kong, China (HKC) met virtually on August 28 for their Fourth ASEAN Economic Ministers-HKC Consultations (AEM-HKC Consultations) as part of the 52nd AEM Meeting.

It was co-chaired by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and HKC’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau Tang-wah.

Two-way trade between ASEAN and HKC reached 111 billion USD last year, or 3.9 percent of ASEAN’s total foreign trade. HKC was the bloc’s seventh largest trading partner. Total FDI flows from HKC stood at around 11.3 billion USD, accounting for 7 percent of all FDI injected into the bloc.

The two ministers shared their concern over the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken a devastating toll on economies and people’s lives around the world.

They underscored the importance of concerted efforts made by countries regionally and globally to combat the disease.

They agreed that the continued cooperation between ASEAN member states and HKC through the utilisation of the two-sides’ free trade agreement (the AHKFTA) and Investment Agreement (the AHKIA) is vital to recovering the two economies and boosting bilateral trade.

The AHKFTA and AHKIA are in force in HKC and ASEAN nations, except for Brunei and Cambodia, where the two agreements are still in the process of ratification.

The ministers asked the two member states to fast-track domestic consultation and have the agreements take effect by the end of this year.

ASEAN economic ministers also welcomed 25 million HKD in funding provided by HKC for the bloc in January to beef up bilateral economic and technical cooperation over the next five years./.