Hong Kong to negotiate Free Trade Agreements with Georgia and Maldives
Friday, May 6, 2016
Hong Kong will soon commence Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with Georgia and Maldives respectively, the Government announced today (May 6).
"Both Georgia and Maldives are emerging markets with potential for further growth. Forging FTAs with these two economies has strategic value for Hong Kong. These FTAs, once signed, will help expand Hong Kong's FTA network into the respective regions including Eurasia," a Government spokesperson said.
"To minimise the risk of being marginalised, it is important for Hong Kong to take part in FTA negotiations that involve our major trading partners. FTA negotiations of the Mainland, our largest trading partner that accounts for about 50 per cent of our total trade, are of particular value for maintaining Hong Kong's position as a major trading and logistics hub. We will thus participate in the Mainland's FTA negotiations with Georgia and Maldives as a separate customs territory and a separate signatory," the Government spokesman added.
The two FTAs with Georgia and Maldives would likely cover, among others, the following key elements:
- elimination or reduction of tariffs;
- liberalisation of non-tariff barriers;
- flexible disciplines on rules of origin which would facilitate bilateral trade;
- customs facilitation procedures;
- liberalisation as well as promotion and protection of investment;
- liberalisation of trade in services; and
- the legal and institutional arrangement and dispute settlement mechanism for the FTA.
In 2015, Hong Kong's bilateral merchandise trade with Georgia and Maldives amounted to $285 million and $276 million respectively.
So far, Hong Kong has signed four FTAs respectively with the Mainland, New Zealand, the Member States of the European Free Trade Association (comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), and Chile. Hong Kong is actively negotiating an FTA with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a closer economic partnership arrangement with Macao and a Trade in Services Agreement that involves 23 World Trade Organization members.
To assist the Government in formulating its strategies and positions in the negotiations with Georgia and Maldives, a consultation document has been prepared and can be accessed at the Trade and Industry Department (TID) website (www.tid.gov.hk/english/aboutus/noticeboard/maldivesgeorgiafta.html). Interested parties are invited to put forward their views and suggestions on areas to be covered in the two FTAs on or before June 6. Feedback can be sent to the TID by mail (Europe Division, Trade and Industry Department, Room 1325, 13/F, Trade and Industry Tower, 3 Concorde Road, Kowloon City, Hong Kong), fax (2789 9761 or 2789 2491) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).