Hong Kong's leader, Chief Executive John Lee, announced on Tuesday that the city will focus on strengthening its economic and trade ties with Thailand. This decision comes after a meeting between Lee and Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, where they discussed the positive relations between the two sides and the need for increased exchanges between their people.
The Hong Kong administration aims to expand its role in Southeast Asia to boost economic growth for the financial hub, which has been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in recent years. The city intends to position itself as a bridge between mainland China and the international community.
Lee emphasized that Hong Kong will work towards deepening regional cooperation and enhancing economic, trade, and investment activities with countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Hong Kong has considered ASEAN as its second-largest trading partner since 2010.
During his three-day trip to Hong Kong, Prime Minister Srettha met with officials and business leaders, including Bernard Chan and Allan Zeman. In a press statement, Lee expressed gratitude to Thailand for supporting Hong Kong's early entry into the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a significant 15-nation trade agreement that came into effect last year. The RCEP aims to reduce tariffs on thousands of products, streamline trade procedures, and provide mutual benefits for member nations.
The trade bloc hopes that the RCEP, which covers about a third of world trade and business activity, will contribute to the post-pandemic recovery efforts of its member countries.