Official Launch of Negotiations: Australia - Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement

This morning, AustCham organised the official launch of the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between Australia and HKSAR, where Steven Ciobo, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Gregory So, shared their vision of how an FTA will deliver greater prosperity and growth in trade through closer economic integration.

Professor Richard Petty, Chairman of AustCham Hong Kong and Macau, and moderator of the event this morning, welcomed the launch of negotiations and is very supportive of  the Australia-Hong Kong FTA.

“An Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement makes sense for Australia particularly when viewed through the lens of Australia’s desire to engage more closely with Asia and to be a key player in economic terms in the Asian Century. 

Some 100,000 or so Australians live in Hong Kong. The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macau is the second-largest foreign business chamber in Hong Kong, and the largest Australian Chamber of Commerce outside Australia.

AustCham, together with many other organisations, helps in promoting business networks and in deepening ties between Hong Kong and Australia. Strong people-to-people links, underpinned by an active dual-national community, tourists and students, continue to support and strengthen Australia’s economic and cultural links with Hong Kong.

There is significant two-way trade in goods and services, and Hong Kong is also an important source of foreign investment for Australia. Many students from Hong Kong are enrolled in Australian educational institutions. Many tertiary courses are also offered by Australian institutions operating in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s economy is 93% services so we see enormous opportunity for Australian service providers who are actively engaged in banking, transport and logistics, employment consultancies, engineering, construction, aviation, architecture, accountancy, legal services, insurance, tourism, and retailing to benefit from this initiative. Australia has important interests in Hong Kong and Hong Kong is Australia’s largest business base in East Asia.

Knowing that both Governments are committed to growth, trade, and business stability is in the best interests of our members and is fantastic for the entire business community,” said Prof Petty, following the announcement of negotiations this morning.