Australia and Hong Kong launched negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) on 16 May. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, and is able to enter into its own trade agreements. An Australia-Hong Kong FTA (A-HKFTA) would complement our FTA with China and further integrate the Australian economy with Asia.
We invite stakeholders to submit their views on the potential opportunities and impacts of an FTA with Hong Kong. See the Submissions page for more information.
Hong Kong was Australia’s twelfth largest trading partner overall in 2016, with total two-way trade in goods and services worth $16.3 billion.
Hong Kong is an attractive export destination for Australia. Australian goods exports to Hong Kong were worth $10 billion in 2016, growing at over 20 per cent between 2011 and 2016. The Australian services export market to Hong Kong was worth $2.5 billion in 2016, and grew at a rate of 11.6 per cent between 2015 and 2016.
Hong Kong is our fifth largest source of total foreign investment, with a stock of $100.9 billion at the end of 2016, and our tenth largest destination for total Australian investment, with a stock of $52.9 billion at the end of 2016.
Why is the Government negotiating an FTA with Hong Kong?
A strong relationship with Hong Kong is in Australia's long-term strategic interests and concluding an FTA would strengthen Australia's relationship with one of its most significant trading partners. Until the launch of the A-HKFTA on 16 May, aside from the European Union, Hong Kong was the largest trading partner with which Australia had not launched or concluded FTA negotiations.
Hong Kong is Australia's leading business base in East Asia, with over 600 Australian businesses, including the four major banks, having a major presence there.
An FTA would provide increased certainty for Australian service providers and investors. It could lock in continued access to the Hong Kong market for Australian exporters of education, financial and professional services. It could guarantee that Hong Kong could not apply tariffs to Australian goods exports in the future.
Australia is seeking a comprehensive FTA that meets the needs of Australian goods and services exporters, and investors.
For goods exporters, Australia could seek a commitment that Hong Kong would continue its zero tariffs levels on Australian goods exports. By addressing non-tariff barriers and customs procedures, we could aim to ensure that goods trade with Hong Kong operates as smoothly and simply as possible.
For services suppliers, Australia could seek to secure non-discriminatory access to the Hong Kong market, create greater regulatory certainty and automatically capture future unilateral liberalisation.
Australia could also seek to address a range of issues impacting on trade, including:
- digital trade (e.g. e-commerce);
- protection of intellectual property;
- temporary entry of business people;
- government procurement; and
- competition policy.
For investors, Australia could seek outcomes which protect investments, while at the same time, incorporate safeguards to ensure the Government could regulate for legitimate public welfare reasons, including public health and national security measures.
For more information on the prospective FTA, and on Australia’s relationship with Hong Kong, see the following links: