Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates set to commence talks on bilateral free trade agreement, city leader John Lee says

Hong Kong and the oil-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to commence negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement to boost investment ties between the two economies, the city’s leader has announced during his visit to Dubai.
Memorandums of understanding (MOUs), meanwhile, have been exchanged between Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and its counterpart in the Emirates, as well as between a local architectural firm, a home-grown tech start-up and an Abu Dhabi smart city operator.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu announced the planned negotiations on the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) at a business forum in Dubai on Wednesday night.

“I am keen to build ever stronger economic, trade and investment ties with the UAE,” he told hundreds of businesspeople in Dubai.
“An FTA between Hong Kong and the UAE, therefore, is the logical next step in our relations. I’m confident it would substantially boost trade and investment ties between us.”
The UAE’s minister of state for foreign trade, Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, said business exchanges at the forum were an important step in enhancing the prospects for bilateral cooperation in a wide range of sectors, especially shipping, logistics, services and air transport.

“Strengthening investment and trade partnerships with Hong Kong supports the strategic cooperation between the UAE and China, and contributes to opening new business fields,” he said.
Hong Kong has signed eight FTAs with 20 economies, including a unique accord with mainland China called the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (Cepa). Others were with economies including New Zealand, Asean countries and member states of the European Free Trade Association.

The financial hub also commenced its first round of FTA negotiations with Peru last month, covering trade in goods, services, investment and electronic commerce.

Source : scmp.com/news / For more details

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