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Jan retail sales up 0.9%

The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.   Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.   Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.   Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7

FTA to cover more product categories

Hong Kong today signed a protocol to almost treble the range of specified product categories to be covered by the city’s free trade agreement (FTA) with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).


The protocol will update the product specific rules (PSR) of origin under the FTA, enhancing PSR coverage from more than 200 categories of products to almost 600.


This means the city’s businesses will be able to gain Hong Kong-originating status for an increased number of products more easily and effectively, thereby enjoying preferential tariff treatment for these products when expanding into the growing ASEAN market.


The specified products incorporated into the FTA fall into various categories of interest to Hong Kong traders and manufacturers, including jewellery, medicaments, food products and textile products.


The signing of the protocol will help enhance the competitiveness of the products concerned, as well as trade flows, creating more opportunities for Hong Kong businesses in the ASEAN market.


On signing the protocol, Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau highlighted that ASEAN is Hong Kong’s second-largest trading partner in merchandise trade, adding: “Our burgeoning trade has been uplifted by the FTA, signifying the latter’s importance in consolidating our position as an international trade centre.”


The commerce chief said he has full confidence that the implementation of the protocol will further drive growth in Hong Kong’s economic and trade relations with ASEAN member states.


The text of the First Protocol to Amend the Free Trade Agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations & Hong Kong will be uploaded onto the Trade & Industry Department's website after all parties have completed its signing.


Hong Kong and ASEAN will continue to work closely to bring about early implementation of the protocol, so that Hong Kong exporters can reap its benefits as soon as possible.

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