Hong Kong and Australia tie up bilateral trade and services agreement, offering respite from global trade war

Hong Kong and Australia reached a deal at a regional summit on Thursday to allow bilateral free trade and services at a time when global economies are under the shadow of a trade war.


The pair concluded 18 months of negotiations over a free trade agreement and an investment agreement, which will cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment and other related areas and boost mutual trade and services flow.

It is Hong Kong’s ninth free trade agreement to date.

“This document with Australia is important because the service industries in both Australia and Hong Kong are highly complementary,” Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Bureau Edward Yau Tang-wah said on the sidelines of the 30th Apec Ministerial Meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.


He pointed out that the free trade agreement sent “a positive message” to the world in the face of the raging China-US trade war and rising protectionism in the world’s trade system.

After Yau signed with Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, over the declaration of intent to conclude the deal, Hong Kong and Australia will proceed to administrative process to finalise and sign the agreements in the first half of next year.

“Hong Kong has set clear objectives in launching the negotiations – to achieve zero tariffs for Hong Kong products in the Australian market and to secure Australia’s best commitments for Hong Kong services,” Yau said. “Our objectives have been largely met with the successful conclusion today of the negotiation of the very comprehensive free trade agreements and investment agreement, thereby bringing our bilateral trade and investment relationship with Australia to new heights.”

Hong Kong has been caught in the crossfire of the China-US trade war, which has been raging since the summer. The city, which has almost half of its US exports from China affected by punitive tariffs, is in urgent need for a way out.

Source: Hong Kong Economy


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