Edward Yau shares trade insights

February 22, 2021

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau today shared his insights on the trade landscape under the COVID-19 pandemic at Asia Trade Week 2021.


During the online interview, Mr Yau said that the pandemic has brought an uneven impact on the trade in Hong Kong, as commodity trade has not been much affected but trade in services has taken a heavier toll.


Nevertheless, he noted that some areas such as financial services and information and technology have still achieved robust growth.


Noting that most economies are still suffering from the recession caused by the pandemic, Mr Yau said that the pandemic would put pressure on operation costs on the way to economic recovery.


He said bigger challenges come from whether anti-pandemic measures will become an excuse for trade barriers and whether protectionist sentiments will rise.


However, there are good developments on the global trade scene, he said. Citing the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Mr Yau said that high-standard free trade agreements could strengthen the multilateral trading system, enhance regional trade co-operation and remove trade barriers.


Mr Yau emphasised that Hong Kong is ready to join the RCEP, adding that among the 15 economies of the RCEP, the city has direct free trade agreements with 13 members, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia and New Zealand.


Organised by The Economist Events, Asia Trade Week 2021 will be held until February 25. Policymakers, business leaders, trade negotiators, academics and economists will have discussions on major factors that will shape the future of trade in Asia and beyond.

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