Stable development of Hong Kong in interests of ASEAN
Published: Jun 02, 2020 07:08 PM

The United Front Supporting National Security Legislation holds a press conference on Monday, saying that 2.92 million Hong Kong citizens have signed a petition in support of the proposed national security legislation. Photo: cnsphoto

Maintaining the stable development of Hong Kong is in the interests of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Chinese special administrative region (SAR)'s second-largest trading partner, an ASEAN bloc expert said on Tuesday. 

Multiple nations in the bloc including Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar have voiced support for the Chinese top legislature's approval of national security legislation for Hong Kong. 

In recent decades, the HKSAR, an important source of foreign investment for ASEAN, has maintained close economic and trade ties and exchanges with the grouping, Xu Ningning, executive president of the China-ASEAN Business Council, one of the dialogue and cooperation mechanisms between China and ASEAN, told the Global Times. 

The central government supports Hong Kong's participation in multilateral and regional economic cooperation, notably the city's involvement in Asia, Xu said.

A conspicuous example is a free trade agreement between Hong Kong and a selection of ASEAN member countries that entered into force in 2019. 

Xu reckoned that the city has strong economic and trade complementarity with the bloc, underpinning closer ties between China and ASEAN amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The bloc unseated the EU as China's top trading partner in the first four months of the year, according to Chinese customs data. China's trade with ASEAN bucked an overall decline to grow 5.7 percent year-on-year to 1.35 trillion yuan ($189.9 billion) in January-April.

During the same period, China's trade with the EU, the US and Japan fell on a yearly basis.

The national security legislation for Hong Kong is favorable for the city's social stability and economic development, and it would boost economic and trade ties between Hong Kong and ASEAN members, according to Chinese news site, citing a statement by the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce over the weekend. 

Hong Kong is not only a major export market, but a significant investment destination for ASEAN nations, read the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce statement, noting that the legislation would maintain investor confidence in the city's outlook and inject more vitality into its economy. 

Hong Kong was Malaysia's fourth-largest trading partner last year, with Malaysia's exports to the city accounting for 6.7 percent of the nation's total exports. 

Hong Kong's social unrest and rioting in 2019 disrupted local economic activity and hurt the business environment, dragging its economy into a deeper recession and weakening trade ties between Hong Kong and Malaysia, the report said.

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