The first phase focused on the first six signatories who, until 2010, expressed support for the abolition of their tariffs on 90% of their products.  Between 2003 and 2008, trade with ASEAN increased from $59.6 billion to $192.5 billion.  China`s transformation into a major economic power in the 21st century has led to an increase in foreign investment in the bamboo network, with a network of Overseas Chinese companies operating in Southeast Asian markets and sharing family and cultural ties.   In 2008, ASEAN members and the People`s Republic of China had a nominal gross domestic product of about $6 trillion.   Hong Kong`s importance as a business in trade between mainland China and Vietnam will continue to grow with the entry into force of the free trade agreement. Re-exports of ASEAN products to China via Hong Kong have increased by 6.4% on an annual average since 2012. The agreement covers four main areas: reducing tariffs on trade in goods, reducing restrictions on trade in services, extending the stay of business travellers and better protection of investment. In terms of trade reduction, most ASEAN countries will eliminate or reduce tariffs on goods from Hong Kong. The implementation of AHKFTA will allow Vietnam to further improve its competitive commercial network. It will continue to help the economy grow the value chain, from exporting low-tech production to exporting high-tech products such as electronics, machinery, vehicles and medical devices. On 12 November 2017, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) signed a free trade and investment pact to strengthen economic cooperation between the two regions and boost economic development.
The two agreements, ASEAN-Hong Kong, the Free Trade Agreement with China (AHKFTA) and the ASEAN-Hong Kong Agreement (AHKIA), were signed at the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila and will enter into force on 1 January 2019. Analysts have noted that, given the continuing trade tensions, Hong Kong companies are interested in expanding investment opportunities in Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam. By the end of 2019, Hong Kong was the second largest investor in Vietnam. Hong Kong companies have invested more than 1,300 projects in Vietnam in key sectors such as textiles and clothing, real estate and investment. Many expect these numbers to improve after AHKFTA. The AHKFTA and ASEAN-Hong Kong Investment Agreements (AHKIA) were signed on 12 November 2017 in Pasay City, Philippines, by ASEAN Economic Ministers and Hong Kong`s Minister of Trade and Economic Development. AHKIA is expected to enter into force on 17 June 2019 for Hong Kong and the five ASEAN member states. The other ASEAN Member States will complete their ratification processes for AHKFTA and AHKIA this year. The free trade agreement reduced tariffs to 7,881 product categories, or 90% of imported products at zero.
 This reduction came into effect in China and in the original six ASEAN members: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The other four countries are expected to follow in 2015.  Look at the full text of the investment agreement and two related related related agreements: improved access to Hong Kong`s trade network, its proximity to mainland China and China`s Belt and Road initiative, should enable foreign and domestic companies to prepare to fully exploit the free trade agreement.