Hong Kong and Southeast Asian nations signed a free trade deal Sunday, in what one minister described as a “clear vote” against protectionism, as the United States withdraws into its “America First” rhetoric.
The city, a special administrative region of China, forged the agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the sidelines of a summit in Manila to be attended by world leaders including US President Donald Trump.
The ministers were meeting just days after Trump accused Asia-Pacific nations of undercutting his country — the world’s largest economy — during another regional meeting in Vietnam.
“In the face of protectionistic sentiments in other parts of the world, (this agreement is) in fact a loud and clear vote from all of us here for free and more open trade,” Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, said during the signing ceremony. Click here to read more.