No.3  March, 2018  
Bilateral relations
Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment visits Hong Kong
Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Mr Steven Ciobo, visited Hong Kong in the week of 19 March. As Australia’s fifth-largest investor and the sixth-largest destination for Australian exports, Mr Ciobo said Hong Kong is a significant trade and investment partner. “To lock in the openness between our economies, the Turnbull Coalition Government is taking forward negotiations on a high quality Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement,” he said. Mr Ciobo met with Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr James Lau, and Acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Dr Bernard Chan, to discuss initiatives to strengthen economic cooperation between Australia and Hong Kong and the region. Mr Ciobo delivered a keynote address at the 2018 Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference on the evolution in Australia’s investment rules, and how Australia achieved the secure management of its most sensitive assets while maintaining its openness to investment. He also delivered a speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club outlining why Australia is a strong champion of free trade and how this has been intrinsic to its economic success. Read more here about his visit and his speeches at the 2018 Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference and Foreign Correspondents’ Club.
Mutual Recognition Arrangement fully operational on 1 March
Australia began a new trade arrangement with Hong Kong on 1 March, giving Australian businesses unprecedented access to the market and boosting the AUD$12.9 billion worth of exports to Hong Kong. Through the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) with Hong Kong under the Australian Trusted Trader programme, more than 140 accredited Australian exporters will now have access to faster, more secure, and more reliable border clearance for their exported goods. The Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security, Mr Angus Taylor, said the MRA will strengthen the important economic and trade relationship between the two markets. Mr Taylor said this MRA built on the other MRAs they had implemented over the past 18 months with China, New Zealand, Canada and the Republic of Korea, which together worth AUD$773 million to the Australian economy. He said these international arrangements reduced the regulatory and cost burden on Australian businesses and improved access to the market for accredited Australian exporters. Find out more here.
Latest from Hong Kong
Hong Kong requests for exclusion from US plan on aluminium tariff
The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, met with the Consul General of the United States (US) to Hong Kong and Macau, Mr Kurt Tong, on 15 March to convey to the US administration Hong Kong's request for exclusion from the US plan to raise tariff on imports of aluminium products from Hong Kong.  Mr Yau said such measures were considered unilateral, discriminatory and based on unfounded allegations. Hong Kong exports only a small volume of the covered aluminium goods to the US and these minimal exports would by no means threaten the US' national security or the viability of the US domestic industries, he noted. Mr Yau urged the US administration to engage in full dialogue with Hong Kong prior to any unilateral action, and to give full regard to the long-standing and close bilateral trade relations with Hong Kong which is a reliable and responsible trading partner of the US.  Read more here.
  Hong Kong's Gross National Income and external primary income flows for fourth quarter of 2017 and whole year of 2017
Hong Kong's Gross National Income (GNI) in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased by 7.3% over a year earlier to HK$733.2 billion (AUD$122 billion) at current market prices. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP), preliminarily estimated at HK$720.9 billion (AUD$120 billion) at current market prices in the same quarter, recorded a 6.2% increase over the same period. Measured at current market prices, the value of GNI was larger than GDP by HK$12.3 billion (AUD$2 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2017, representing a net external primary income inflow of the same amount, and equivalent to 1.7% of GDP in that quarter. After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, Hong Kong's GNI increased by 4.3% in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2017 over a year earlier. The corresponding GDP in the same quarter increased by 3.4% in real terms. For 2017 as a whole, Hong Kong's GNI increased by 8.6% over a year earlier to HK$2,773.4 billion (AUD$462 billion) at current market prices. The total primary income inflow was estimated at HK$1,400.7 billion (AUD$233.5 billion), or 52.6% of GDP in 2017 while the corresponding outflow at HK$1,289.9 billion (AUD$215 billion), or 48.4% of GDP in 2017. After netting out the effect of price changes, Hong Kong's GNI increased by 5.3% in real terms in 2017 over 2016. The preliminary statistics were released by Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department on March 16. Read more here.
  Connection of viaduct completed under Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point project
With the linking up of the main viaduct running from Sha Tau Kok Road to Lin Ma Hang Road under the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point (BCP) project  officially completed on 14 March, Sha Tau Kok Road is now fully connected to the new BCP via the trunk part of this new connecting road. Upon completion of the main structure, other works such as road paving and installation of barriers and road facilities will be carried out in phases. The Hong Kong Government will strive to meet the target of completing the BCP by the end of this year.  The Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai BCP is the first land-based BCP in Hong Kong with direct access facilities for both passengers and vehicles and will serve as a cross-border link to the east of Shenzhen, providing efficient cross-border access to and from the eastern part of Shenzhen, Huizhou, eastern parts of Guangdong and neighbouring provinces. The new BCP could also further strengthen Hong Kong's position in the development of the Pearl River Delta region and at the same time alleviate the heavy usage of the existing BCPs.  Read more here.
  Internship scheme to broaden vistas of Hong Kong youth launched
The Hong Kong Government announced on 16 March the launch of the Pilot Scheme on Corporate Summer Internship on the Mainland and Overseas in collaboration with 16 major enterprises to provide around 250 internship places for Hong Kong young people on the Mainland and overseas this summer. The experience gained by the young participants during the internships at top-notch enterprises outside Hong Kong will help enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness in the face of the globalised knowledge-based economy. The 16 major enterprises with diversified business portfolios spanning across various sectors will provide the internship places in different provinces and cities on the Mainland and in seven overseas countries (including Australia) covering a wide range of industries including financial services, real estate, construction and public utilities. Students who are in Year 2 of undergraduate programmes or above and holders of Hong Kong Permanent Identity Cards may apply. The internship placements will take place between May and August and last for at least six weeks.   Find out more here.
HKETO events
  HKETO Sydney co-hosts business seminar in Auckland
HKETO, Sydney jointly with the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, held the “Hong Kong – The Gateway to Success” seminar in Auckland on March 12 on Hong Kong’s unparalleled business opportunities for New Zealand. The seminar presented to about 100 New Zealand business leaders Hong Kong’s tremendous business opportunities, in particular under the Belt and Road Initiative and development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area. As a key speaker at the seminar, Director-General of Investment Promotion at Invest Hong Kong, Mr Stephen Phillips, said strategic infrastructure facilities connecting Hong Kong and Mainland China would enable Hong Kong tap opportunities arising from the Bay Area. Read more about the seminar here.
  HKETO Sydney participates in lantern festival and business forum in Christchurch
HKETO, Sydney once again participated in the lantern festival and the South Island Business Forum in Christchurch, New Zealand. Lanterns featuring the Star Ferry and Hong Kong's skyline were showcased at the lantern festival from 9 – 11 March to promote Hong Kong’s culture and vibrancy.  A workshop entitled “New Zealand’s Path to the Belt and Road” was held on 9 March to provide an opportunity for participants from the business sector of New Zealand to discover Hong Kong’s advantages as both a destination itself and as a gateway to China and the Belt and Road, and Hong Kong’s unequalled opportunities for New Zealand companies across a variety of industries. Read more here.
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