Free trade agreement with the UAE will benefit HK: CE - RTHK
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Free trade agreement with the UAE will benefit HK: CE

2023-02-09 HKT 03:19
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  • Free trade agreement with the UAE will benefit HK: CE
Chief Executive John Lee has expressed hopes of signing a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates, as he arrived in Dubai - the last stop of his trip to the Middle East.

At an investment forum on Wednesday local time, Lee said the trade in goods between the two places reached US$12.8 billion in 2021 - around 35 percent more than the year before.

He said the SAR is also a key gateway for merchandise trade between mainland China and the UAE.

The CE said a free trade agreement between Hong Kong and the UAE will be mutually beneficial.

"I believe our two economies and the companies that drive them have much to gain by a free trade agreement between us. Today, Hong Kong has signed eight free trade agreements with 20 economies," he said.

"An FTA between Hong Kong and the UAE, therefore, is the logical next step in our relations. I am confident it will substantially boost trade and investment ties between us."

Meanwhile, a major chamber of commerce in the UAE said it is opening an international office in Hong Kong, to promote trade and investment from the SAR to Dubai.

The chairman of Dubai Chambers, Abdul-Aziz Abdulla Al Ghurair, said he hopes business liaison between the two places will not be one-way.

"Similarly, we'd also like... the Hong Kong [Economic and Trade] office here to promote trade and investment in Hong Kong. I see this as a two-way communication," he said.

A number of memorandums of understanding were signed between companies and organisations in the two places.

One of the MOUs will enable a Hong Kong architectural practice and a tech start-up to reach a contract with a city project in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.

Nicholas Ho, chairman of Ho & Partners Architects, said they will help buildings reduce carbon footprint by using new materials and artificial intelligence.

"They already knew that Hong Kong is famous for green and sustainability technology. So when the opportunity arises and we're able to present our design and technology solutions for net zero, they were already very excited," he said.