But in the last six or seven years, things have changed. During this period, world trade declined, but intra-Asian trade increased. According to the World Bank, intra-Asian trade overshadowed Asia-North America and Asia-Europe trade in 2012 as a share of global trade, and has steadily gained weight since then. 4 Technical barriers to trade include technical rules, standards and compliance assessment procedures that may have a direct or indirect impact on merchandise trade. Unfortunately, there are no details yet on the agreements, but for Hong Kong, the devil is certainly in the details. The implementation of the free trade agreement between Hong Kong and asean countries should not immediately alter relative trade flows via Singapore or Hong Kong. Finally, Singapore retains its position as home port for major carrier alliances, virtually guaranteeing that this Entrepot trade will continue in the near future in Singapore. The minutiae of the Asean-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement will be an important factor in whether or not Hong Kong maintains its traditional role as a trade hub for China. “The entry into force of this free trade agreement is an important outcome that further strengthens trade flows between ASEAN and Hong Kong,” said ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi. “This also reflects ASEAN and Hong Kong`s support for a rules-based international trading system and demonstrates our commitment to strengthening trade and investment relations between our nations,” added His Excellency. From 2018, ASEAN will be Hong Kong`s second largest trading partner in goods trade and fourth in services trade.
Hong Kong`s total exports to ASEAN increased by 7.3 per cent over the previous year to $2.8 billion, while imports were $73 billion, an increase of 20.1 per cent over the previous year. Given that China has been ASEAN`s largest trading partner since 2009, trade is expected to continue to grow as Hong Kong is increasingly re-exported. Hong Kong has always been a commercial center for trade with China. That is all its raison d`être. This is a success for Hong Kong, with sustained and impressive growth for decades. The Association of South Asian Nations (ASEAN) 1 was Hong Kong`s second largest trading partner in goods trade in 2019 and fourth in 2018 in services trade.