PHL, Hong Kong exploring way forward after FTA

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A ferry sails at Victoria Harbour in front of the financial Central district, featuring AIA Central (C) and Cheung Kong Center behind it, in Hong Kong, China, February 17, 2016. -- REUTERS

THE PHILIPPINES and Hong Kong are studying investment collaboration opportunities, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano, after his official visit to Hong Kong on Friday.

“We talked about opportunities to further strengthen cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, labor, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges, especially with the signing of the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (FTA),” Mr. Cayetano said in a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) after his meeting with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

“We are optimistic about the future of Philippine-Hong Kong relations and we look forward to taking giant steps in various areas of cooperation,” Mr. Cayetano said.

Mr. Cayetano said that he offered to assist investors from Hong Kong to explore opportunities in the Philippines and encouraged the opening of an Economic and Trade Office in Manila, noting that tourism was a potential area for growth that Hong Kong investors should take a serious look at.

Mr. Cayetano, on behalf of the Philippines, expressed gratitude to Ms. Lam for the hospitality that Hong Kong extends to the close to 219,000 Filipinos working in the special administrative region.

For her part, Ms. Lam said that she “wants Filipino workers to work and live in Hong Kong happily,” citing the contribution of Filipinos to Hong Kong’s economic growth and development.

Incoming Consul General Antonio Morales, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Manuel Teehankee, Presidential Adviser on Investments Atty. Antonio Cablitas, and other DFA officials accompanied Mr. Cayetano during the visit. — Arjay L. Balinbin