New agreement signed under the framework of CEPA to achieve basic liberalisation of trade in services between Guangdong and Hong Kong
Thursday, December 18, 2014
The Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung; Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Ms Qiu Hong, and Vice-Governor of Guangdong Province, Ms Zhao Yufang, witnessed the signing of the Agreement between the Mainland and Hong Kong on Achieving Basic Liberalization of Trade in Services in Guangdong (the Agreement) by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, and the Vice Minister of Commerce, Ms Gao Yan, today (December 18).
The Agreement is a new agreement signed between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG) and Ministry of Commerce under the framework of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). The Agreement is also the first one drawn up by the Mainland making reference to international standards and in the form of pre-establishment national treatment and a negative list. The breadth and depth of liberalisation surpass the previous CEPA measures.
- Overall speaking, the Mainland has opened up 153 services trade sub-sectors to the Hong Kong services industry, accounting for 95.6 per cent of all services trade sub-sectors in Guangdong. In respect of the mode of "commercial presence", national treatment will be applied to Hong Kong in 58 sub-sectors.
- In respect of the mode of "commercial presence", the negative list covers 134 services trade sub-sectors setting out 132 measures as inconsistent with or inapplicable to the obligation of national treatment.
- Measures under the mode of "cross-border supply", "consumption abroad" and "movement of natural persons", as well as the sectors of telecommunications and culture are positively listed, covering a total of 27 new liberalisation measures.
- With regard to investment facilitation, the establishment of companies by Hong Kong service suppliers and the related contract/articles of association will be subject to filing of record instead of prior approval.
- Examples of the liberalisation measures under the Agreement are set out in gia.info.gov.hk/general/201412/18/P201412171261_1261_139358.pdf.
The Agreement contains a most-favoured treatment provision which states that any CEPA-plus preferential treatments offered by the Mainland to other countries and regions will be extended to Hong Kong so as to ensure Hong Kong will continue enjoying the most preferential liberalisation measures offered by the Mainland.
The Agreement shall come into effect on the day of signing and be implemented on March 1, 2015.
The Central Government announced in 2011 the objective of basic liberalisation of trade in services between the Mainland and Hong Kong by the end of the National 12th Five-Year Plan period. From the signing of CEPA Supplement VIII at end 2011 to Supplement X last year, steps were made towards the goal of liberalisation of trade in services. The Agreement signed today achieves early basic liberalisation of trade in services between Guangdong and Hong Kong. Guangdong is a key investment location for Hong Kong enterprises. The Agreement enables Hong Kong investors to take early advantage of opening up the Guangdong market in various service sectors, thereby deepening the cooperation and enhancing the competitiveness of the services industries of the two places. The framework and content of the Agreement also sets a model for basic liberalisation of trade in services nationwide next year.
The public can visit the Trade and Industry Department's CEPA website at www.tid.gov.hk/english/cepa/index.html for details on CEPA.