27th May 2023- (Hong Kong) The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Mr. John Lee, met with the Senate President of the Philippines, Mr. Juan Miguel Fernandez Zubiri, during the latter’s visit to Hong Kong on 27th May to discuss matters of common interest. The meeting was also attended by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr. Christopher Hui.
During the meeting, Mr. Lee highlighted the close exchanges and cooperation that Hong Kong and the Philippines have maintained in various fields such as trade, investment, and finance. Hong Kong is an important trading and investment partner for the Philippines and other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Mr. Lee encouraged more Philippine enterprises and talent to develop in Hong Kong and make better use of Hong Kong’s professional services and internationalized business environment for expanding into Mainland markets, including that of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Hong Kong is committed to strengthening its ties with ASEAN countries, and the meeting highlighted the importance of increased cooperation between the two countries.
The Chief Executive also expressed his gratitude to the Philippines for its support in Hong Kong’s bid for early accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). Hong Kong is an important regional hub for trade and investment, and early accession to the RCEP would further enhance Hong Kong’s position as a gateway to the Mainland and ASEAN markets.
The RCEPis a free trade agreement between the ten ASEAN member states and five of its dialogue partners: China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It is the world’s largest regional trade agreement, covering a population of 2.2 billion people and a combined GDP of US$26.2 trillion.
Hong Kong has been seeking to join the RCEP since negotiations began in 2012. As a free trade port and a global financial center, Hong Kong has much to gain from participating in the agreement. With its world-class infrastructure, rule of law, and low tax regime, Hong Kong is well-positioned to serve as a gateway for RCEP members looking to access the Mainland and ASEAN markets.
The Chief Executive’s meeting with the Senate President of the Philippines comes at a time when Hong Kong is seeking to strengthen its ties with ASEAN countries. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, a plan to integrate Hong Kong, Macao, and nine cities in Guangdong Province into a world-class economic hub, is a key part of Hong Kong’s strategy to deepen its integration with the Mainland and ASEAN.