Hong Kong gains further access to China’s services market
A new agreement has been signed last week to further liberalise trade in services between Hong Kong and mainland China, under the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The two parties first signed CEPA in 2003 to increase trade relations by removing tariffs and other trade-inhibiting restrictions.
The new agreement further deepens trade liberalisation by applying the provisions of the Guangdong pilot programme, signed last year, to the whole of mainland China. Restrictive measures in the negative list have been reduced and 28 liberalisation measures in the positive list for cross-border services have been added. Hong Kong will also be subjected to “Most-Favoured Treatment”, meaning that any preferential treatment that the mainland applies to other countries will also be relevant for Hong Kong, if they are more favourable than provisions under CEPA. There are a total of 153 sectors in the Mainland that will be fully or at least partially opened to Hong Kong services industry.
“The mainland has a huge market with great development in terms of service industry, while Hong Kong is very competitive in this regard. So the new agreement would put Hong Kong at an advantage”, said China’s Vice Minister of Commerce, Wang Shouwen.
Strengthening the liberalisation of trade services between mainland and Hong Kong is a welcome step that further reinforces the city’s status as a trade, finance and logistics hub. The agreement will put in to practice on June 1, 2016.
For more details on the CEPA, please visit: www.tid.gov.hk/english/cepa/index.html