Free trade area a worthy goal

May 19, 2024
Shared prosperity
Shared prosperity:

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau (front row, first right) attends the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in Arequipa, Peru.

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau called on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies to reaffirm the goal of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) to fulfil the promise of shared prosperity.
Mr Yau made the call while speaking at a session on the FTAAP as he attends the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting in Arequipa, Peru.
He pointed out that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive & Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership have long been recognised as possible pathways to the FTAAP.
"As a testament to our commitment to regional economic integration towards the FTAAP, Hong Kong is actively seeking early accession to the RCEP and expanding our trade agreement network, including negotiating a new free trade agreement with Peru."
He called on all APEC member economies to commit to promoting greater openness and inclusiveness in regional economic integration initiatives, ensuring these efforts are accessible and can benefit the member economies, and addressing traditional, current and emerging trade issues that are of shared interests.
At another discussion session, Mr Yau emphasised Hong Kong’s commitment to ensuring the benefits of trade are accessible to all, particularly the underrepresented groups such as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and women.
He briefed other trade ministers on the funding schemes and initiatives Hong Kong has been implementing to facilitate trade and assist MSMEs and women entrepreneurs in developing overseas markets, undertaking e-commerce and capitalising on digitalisation.


Such initiatives include the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading & Domestic Sales (BUD Fund), "E-Commerce Easy" under the BUD Fund and the Trade Single Window.


Furthermore, Mr Yau pointed out that there is also a US$2.6 million Women Empowerment Fund that seeks to support women’s development and help them to realise their full potential.
On the sidelines of the MRT Meeting, the commerce chief met Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry Liew Chin Tong to discuss trade and economic issues.
The MRT Meeting has concluded and Mr Yau will return to Hong Kong on May 22.

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