Plurilateral initiatives for promoting trade – Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific and Global Data Standards under Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Impacts of global political developments on trade
Mr CHAN Chun-ying referred to the public comments from the United States (“US”) President-elect Donald Trump that the US would withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) on his assumption of office, and pointed to the concerns from various economies on the US stance. Noting that APEC economies would continue to work towards the eventual realization of FTAAP, Mr CHAN asked whether the Administration would assess the possible impact of the US’ withdrawal from TPP on Hong Kong’s trade and economy.The Chairman echoed Mr CHAN’s views and added that although Hong Kong was not a member of TPP, the Administration should take the initiative to assess the potential impacts of the US political developments on Hong Kong’s economy.
DGTI advised that as Hong Kong was not a member of TPP, the Administration did not anticipate the stance of the US towards TPP to pose direct impact on Hong Kong in the same way that it might have on TPP members. However, as Hong Kong was an externally oriented economy and in view of the importance of free trade to our economy, the Administration would continue to closely monitor the developments in the US, especially its stance on free trade to assess the potential impact on Hong Kong’s economy. DGTI added that Hong Kong actively participated in the negotiations of free trade agreements with a number of trading partners, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Global Data Standards
Expressing the concerns of some local start-ups in GDS-related industry on the insufficient support rendered to them, Mr CHAN Chun-ying urged the Administration to provide support to facilitate local start-ups to participate in GDS.
DGTI advised that GS1 Hong Kong, a non-profit making organization, had been awarded through open tendering process by the APEC Secretariat the contract of providing technical assistance and consultancy support to the GDS pilot projects. Hong Kong had been working closely with GS1 Hong Kong on the project, providing policy guidance and financial support in the process. The Administration stood ready to support local start-ups who are interested in GDS.
Mr CHAN Chun-ying enquired about the reasons for the limited types of goods covered under the list of GDS pilot projects. DGTI advised that under the GDS pilot projects, shipments with a wide range of selected goods would be conducted to assess the effectiveness of GDS in monitoring the progress throughout the supply chain, especially in ensuring the product quality and conditions (for instance, temperature monitoring under cold-chain storage for perishable products). This would allow stakeholders, including manufacturers/exporters, logistics operators, importers and customs/border agencies, to gain hands-on experience in applying GDS to their current operations.