No.3  March, 2019  
Bilateral relations
  Hong Kong and Australia sign Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Investment Agreement
The Hong Kong, China - Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Investment Agreement, signed on 26 March 2019, marked a milestone in bilateral trade and investment relationship between Hong Kong and Australia. The commitments made to each other far exceeded their World Trade Organization commitments, enabling goods, services and investments from the two places to enter each other’s market under more preferential terms. The two Agreements were signed by Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, and Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Mr Simon Birmingham, in Sydney, Australia. The two Agreements are comprehensive in scope, covering trade in goods, trade in services, investment, intellectual property, government procurement, competition and other related areas; and are modern and of high standard. They provide Hong Kong traders and investors with legal certainty and more favourable access to the Australian market, whilst creating more business opportunities and enhancing trade and investment flows between the two places. The two agreements will take effect after Hong Kong and Australia have completed their respective internal procedures.

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  Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development visits Australia
The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, visited Sydney, Australia, on 25 and 26 March to attend the signing ceremony of the Hong Kong, China - Australia Free Trade Agreement and Investment Agreement held on 26 March. During his stay in Sydney, Mr Yau took the opportunity to visit Destination NSW on 25 March, where he was briefed on the latest tourism developments in New South Wales and its promotional strategies for various flagship events. He also paid a courtesy call on the Chinese Consul General in Sydney, Mr Gu Xiaojie. Speaking at a luncheon seminar in Sydney organised by the HKETO Sydney on 26 March, Mr Yau said the Free Trade Agreement and Investment Agreement signed between Hong Kong and Australia provided a new platform for the two sides to meet and review trade and investment initiatives with a view to promoting deeper and broader economic integration.

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  Hong Kong and Australia sign MoU on co-operation in intellectual property
The Intellectual Property Department announced on 26 March that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IP Australia to strengthen mutual co-operation in the field of intellectual property (IP). Under the MoU, Hong Kong and Australia would pursue co-operation in a wide range of areas including exchange of information in different aspects of IP protection and commercialisation and capacity building in patent examination; sharing of experience in the operation of the international trade mark registration system, promotion of dispute resolution to resolve IP disputes and development of information technology systems for management of examination and grant of IP rights.

Read more here.
Bilateral relations
New measures to expedite Greater Bay Area growth
The Central Government has announced eight measures to speed up the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) on 1 March. These measures include the method for calculating "183 days" for paying individual income tax on the Mainland (that is, any stay of less than 24 hours on the Mainland will not count as a day of presence); providing tax relief by municipal governments to non-Mainland (including Hong Kong) high-end talents and talents in short supply tax by offsetting the tax differential between the two places; supporting the open recruitment of Hong Kong and Macao residents by public institutions in the Greater Bay Area; encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in the nine Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area by the youth of Hong Kong and Macao; supporting higher education institutions and scientific research institutes from Hong Kong and Macao to participate in projects under Guangdong technology programmes; introducing immigration facilitation reform pilots schemes in the Greater Bay Area, facilitating vehicles from Hong Kong and Macao entering and exiting Mainland ports; and expanding the implementation scope of the connection with the Speedy Customs Clearance between Customs administrations. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, welcomed the eight policy measures which she said could facilitate Hong Kong residents to develop, work and reside in the Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area, as well as strengthen the convenient flow of people and goods within the Greater Bay Area.

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  Hong Kong ranked No.3 global financial centre
The 25th edition of the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI 25), released in March, ranked Hong Kong third after New York and London, endorsing the city’s position as Asia’s leading financial hub. Produced by Z/Yen Partners and China Development Institute, 112 centres had been researched for this edition and the number of financial centres in the main index had increased from 100 to 102. The instrumental factors used in the GFCI model were grouped into five broad areas of competitiveness: Business Environment, Human Capital, Infrastructure, Financial Sector Development, and Reputation & General. The GFCI rated Hong Kong top in terms of competitiveness for both human capital and infrastructure.

Read the report here.
  Government welcomes EU's removal of Hong Kong from watchlist on tax co-operation
The Hong Kong SAR Government on 13 March welcomed the decision of the European Union (EU) to remove Hong Kong from its watchlist on tax co-operation in recognition of the efforts made by Hong Kong on the international tax co-operation front. The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr James Lau, said, as an international financial centre, Hong Kong had all along proactively supported and facilitated the efforts of the international community in enhancing tax transparency and combating cross-border tax evasion. Since 2018, Hong Kong has implemented various initiatives relating to international tax co-operation and fulfilled the commitments made to the EU. He said the latest decision of the EU showed that Hong Kong's compliance with the standards of international tax co-operation is recognised by the international community.

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  Fresh accolade for Hong Kong International Airport’s cargo handling system
The Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has been recognised by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a Partner Airport of IATA’s Center of Excellence for Perishable Logistics (IATA CEIV Fresh), the first airport community in the world to receive the IATA CEIV Fresh Certification. The recognition epitomises HKIA’s excellent capability in the transportation and handling of perishable cargo, through its efficient, dedicated facilities and services provided in a stringent temperature-controlled process at globally assured standards. In 2018, HKIA handled over 380,000 tonnes of perishables, accounting for about 8% of the total cargo volume of HKIA, marking a year-on-year increase of 12% from 2017. To support the continuous growth, the Airport Authority will ensure high-quality specialty facilities and services for perishable air cargo.

Read more here.
Latest from Hong Kong
  Business seminar in Auckland showcases unparalleled business opportunities of Greater Bay Area
The HKETO Sydney, together with the Auckland Business Chamber, held a business seminar in Auckland, New Zealand, on 21 March on the unparalleled opportunities offered by Hong Kong and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area for New Zealand businesses. Entitled "Accessing the world's largest market through Hong Kong", the seminar presented to New Zealand business leaders the important role Hong Kong plays in the Greater Bay Area's development and how Hong Kong can provide benefits for New Zealand across many areas given that it is the most open international city in the Greater Bay Area, a well-connected transport hub, and an innovation and technology centre. In addition, HKETO Sydney also co-hosted a reception in Auckland with the HKTDC, InvestHK and the Hong Kong-New Zealand Business Association, under the theme of "Connect and Excel".

Read more here.
Upcoming events
  Hong Kong Sevens 2019 (Hong Kong)
Since its kick-off in 1976, the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens has grown into one of the biggest rugby events on the international sporting calendar. This year’s Hong Kong Sevens will take place from 5 to 7 April. Teams from the world’s top rugby nations will compete in front of 40,000 spectators at Hong Kong Stadium. Don’t forget to join the Sevens party at Sevens Central where there will be live music, tribute acts performing, as well as live rugby action on the big screen from 6 to 7 April.

Learn more here.
  Internet Economy Summit (Hong Kong)
Top-notch global and local tech heavyweights will gather in Hong Kong for a two-day Internet Economy Summit (IES) from 15 to 16 April to share their insights on how today’s businesses can leverage data-driven innovations to capitalise on the unprecedented opportunities in the connected world. The 4th edition of IES, themed "Digital Economy • Redefines Our Future", is organised by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and Cyberport in collaboration from the HKTDC and InvestHK. The Summit offers a vision into the digital future with disruptive influence in areas of fintech, virtual marketplaces, internet of things, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, enterprise 4.0 and more.

Learn more here.
  Van Gogh Alive - The Experience (Hong Kong)
With classical music, visitors at the exhibition to be held from 6 April to 7 July will experience a thrilling display of over 3,000 inspirational Van Gogh art works transforming every surface—walls, columns, ceilings and even floors. The experience explores hidden nooks, viewing artworks from new angles and discovering unique perspectives.

Learn more here.
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