No.11  November, 2018  
Bilateral relations
Hong Kong and Australia conclude Free Trade Agreement negotiations
Hong Kong and Australia have successfully concluded their negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and an Investment Agreement. A signing ceremony of the Declaration of Intent by Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, and the Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Mr Simon Birmingham, was held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on 15 November where they were also attending the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting. Mr Yau said Hong Kong’s objectives to achieve zero tariffs for Hong Kong products to the Australian market and to secure Australia’s best FTA commitments for Hong Kong services were largely met with the successful conclusion of the negotiation of the very comprehensive FTA and Investment Agreement. The two agreements encompass trade in goods, trade in services, investment and other related areas, providing legal certainty and better access to the Australian market. Hong Kong’s economy stands to benefit from the two agreements. Mr Yau said Hong Kong and Australia expect to sign the FTA and the Investment Agreement in the first half of the coming year.
Find out more from Hong Kong Government’s press release.

The Australian Prime Minister, Mr Scott Morrison, and Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Mr Simon Birmingham, said in a press release issued on 15 November that the conclusion of negotiations on the Australia-Hong Kong FTA marked a significant milestone in the already substantial trade and investment relationship. Through the Agreement, Australia has secured the best commitment on services that Hong Kong has ever offered in an FTA, with guaranteed certainty of access for Australian suppliers of education, professional, financial, transport, construction, tourism and recreational services. It also delivers a guarantee to Australian business that Hong Kong’s relatively open services and investment regime will continue with Australian investment in Hong Kong. Read more about the press release.

The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, met the Australian Prime Minister, Mr Scott Morrison, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on 18 November, where she was attending the APEC 2018 Economic Leaders’ Meeting. Mrs Lam said she was pleased that negotiations on a FTA and an Investment Agreement were successfully concluded. She believes that the business and economic relations between the two places will be taken to a new level. Find out more here.
Latest from Hong Kong
Hong Kong ranked world’s fourth easiest place to do business
Hong Kong is ranked fourth globally on the ease of doing business, moving up one place from being fifth last year, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 Report (Report) released on 31 October. A Hong Kong Government spokesman said in the past 10 years, Hong Kong had maintained its position among the world’s top ranking economies in the Report, re-affirming Hong Kong’s favourable business environment for overseas companies to set up their regional headquarters and offices, and for all businesses to flourish. The World Bank commends Hong Kong for the successful implementation of reform measures to improve the ease of doing business. The Report compares the ease of doing business in 190 economies across 10 indicators and Hong Kong performs well in a number of them. Find out more about the Report and Hong Kong Government’s press release.
  Hong Kong Chief Executive attends APEC meetings in Papua New Guinea
The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2018 Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) in Port Moresby on 18 November and had in-depth discussions with the leaders of other economies on how to ensure inclusive development in the face of new economic situation and digital future. Mrs Lam noted that Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy under “One Country, Two Systems”, and that the city will continue to leverage its advantages to promote international free trade, including expanding the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) network. Hong Kong will also contribute to the national Belt and Road Initiative, including sharing with the emerging countries along the Belt and Road Hong Kong’s rich experience in city management to help their capacity building. Find out more here.
Hong Kong Exhibition Area at China International Import Expo
To showcase its unique role as a strategic gateway and important hub for the opening up of the country, Hong Kong has actively participated in the inaugural China International Import Expo (CIIE) held at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai from 5 to 10 November, including the setting up of a Hong Kong Exhibition Area and joining the Enterprise and Business Exhibition. The Hong Kong Exhibition Area, set up by the Hong Kong Government, received overwhelming response from visitors from all over the world, effectively promoting Hong Kong’s role as a strategic gateway and important hub connecting China to the world. Themed “Hong Kong In”, the Area was located inside the China Pavilion of the Country Pavilion for Trade and Investment. Rich in content, the exhibition introduced Hong Kong's strengths, major infrastructure projects, popular tourist attractions, and innovation and technology products and inventions. Read more here.
Hong Kong Fintech Week – world’s first cross-border fintech event
The world’s first cross-border financial technology event, Hong Kong Fintech Week concluded on 2 November in Shenzhen, reflecting the key cross-border theme of the programme. The five-day event covered all key aspects of financial technology (fintech), and involved experts from around the globe and some of the world’s biggest fintech companies. Presented by Invest Hong Kong, Fintech Week drew more than 8,000 attendees from over 50 economies, more than 260 world-class speakers, 100 exhibitors, 60 start-ups and 1,000-plus business matching meetings. The Week featured international pavilions hosted by Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel and the UK, and with trade delegations from Japan, Mainland China, Singapore, Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the US. In a keynote speech, the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, said Hong Kong is undoubtedly an ideal launch pad for those seeking a future in fintech. Read more about Mr Chan’s speech and details of the Fintech Week.
Wine and Spirits Fair 2018
The Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2018, held from 7 to 9 November, was one of the most anticipated wine events in Hong Kong and Asia with over 1,000 exhibitors from more than 30 countries and regions across the globe as well as more than 20,000 professional buyers. Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Acting Financial Secretary, Mr James Lau, said that Hong Kong is well known for the world-class commercial infrastructure for the wine industry and business to thrive. He said the market of the Mainland China is Hong Kong’s top wine re-export destination and Hong Kong had shipped more than HK$2.2 billion (AUD$388 million) worth of bottles in the first eight months of this year. With Hong Kong’s proximity and thorough knowledge of the Mainland market, wine traders based in Hong Kong can also enjoy instant customs clearance when they move the wines into the Mainland under the wine customs facilitation scheme. Read more here.
HKETO events
  OzAsia Festival 2018
The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney (HKETO), has again participated in one of Australia’s leading international arts festivals, the OzAsia Festival, held in Adelaide, Australia. The HKETO supported the event organiser, the Adelaide Festival Centre, in bringing a giant 40-metre-long Hong Kong Dragon to the Moon Lantern Parade at Adelaide’s Elder Park on October 27. Through this fabulous illuminated dragon, the HKETO showcased the vibrancy of Hong Kong as an international cultural metropolis grounded in Chinese traditions to the Australian audience. Other interesting Hong Kong experiences brought to the festival hub by HKETO included a Hong Kong Dragon Bar with Hong Kong branding, an interactive photo site featuring Hong Kong’s skyline and a dragon boat image, and face painting activities with Hong Kong characteristics. Check out more here.
  Sydney Open 2018
Hong Kong House, home of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney (HKETO), participated in Sydney Open once again to open its doors for public visits on 4 November and welcomed more than 700 visitors. Presented by Sydney Living Museums, the annual event provides an opportunity for lovers of architecture and historic buildings to access spaces normally off limits to the public for them to appreciate some of Sydney’s most architecturally and historically significant buildings. Built in 1891, Hong Kong House is a heritage-listed building that was converted from a hotel with a banking chamber to office and retail use in the late 1980s. During the open day, photos showing Hong Kong House’s history were displayed, along with videos and promotional materials about the latest developments of Hong Kong. Souvenirs with Hong Kong characteristics were given away to visitors to further promote the city. Find out more here.
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