Hong Kong hopes to have a free trade pact with Association of Southeast Asian Nations economies in place within the year, Chief Executive CY Leung says.
During a question-and-answer session on the 2016 Policy Address at the Legislative Council today, Mr Leung noted that ASEAN was Hong Kong's second-largest trading partner and that the Government has been negotiating with member states on the trade deal.
He underscored ASEAN's importance to Hong Kong by highlighting the Government's negotiations with Indonesia - the largest ASEAN member in terms of gross national product, population and land area - to set up an economic and trade office in the country.
Mr Leung added that as an open economy Hong Kong must boost its competitiveness and expand global trade ties.
The Chief Executive also said he chose to focus a great deal of his Policy Address on innovation and technology because it is an important industry that can support the financial services sector, including the development of FinTech.