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Malaysia set to benefit from ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA: Minister

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-11-07 15:37

KUALA LUMPUR — Trade between Malaysia and China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is set to increase following the signing of ASEAN-Hong Kong free trade agreement (FTA), which is expected to be concluded this week at the earliest, said Malaysian Prime Minister's department minister Wee Ka Siong on Tuesday.

"Malaysia's trade with Hong Kong is more on the electrical and electronic (E&E) sector. The trade performance has been encouraging. The signing of FTA will certainly boost the trade between Hong Kong and ASEAN, including Malaysia," Wee told the media at the sideline after delivering his speech at "In Style Hong Kong" symposium in Malaysia's capital.

Wee, who expects the FTA to be in force from Jan 1, 2019 once it is ratified, added the FTA will benefit Malaysian traders as under the FTA, Malaysia will abolish import duties on certain trade goods and streamline the import regulations with those of the World Trade Organization.

According to Malaysia's International Trade Industry, Hong Kong is currently one of the major export markets for Malaysia. In September, Malaysia's exports to Hong Kong surged 41 percent year-on-year to 4.58 billion ringgit ($1.08 billion).

"Our trade relationship with Hong Kong has been going from strength to strength. Moving forward, we will continue to cultivate our bilateral relationship with Hong Kong," Wee said.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Trade Development Council's Chairman Vincent Lo Hong-shui noted that the relationship between Malaysia and Hong Kong is taking on new significance with the anticipated FTA between Hong Kong and ASEAN to be signed soon.

"The pace is a momentous one as the world's focus now falls on Asia to drive economic growth," he added.

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