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Trade and Industry Department The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Brand Hong Kong - Asia world city

HONG KONG - ASEAN TRADE RELATIONS

HONG KONG'S TRADE POLICY

Hong Kong is a free port. We pursue a free trade policy and do not maintain barriers on trade. No tariff is charged on import or export of goods. Although licensing is required for the import and export of some goods, this is only to fulfil obligations undertaken by Hong Kong to our trading partners, or to meet public health, safety or internal security needs. The licensing procedures are as simplified as possible in such cases.

Through participating in multilateral, regional, plurilateral, and bilateral trade agreements, we secure, maintain and improve access to foreign markets for our goods and services.

Hong Kong actively supports and promotes a free, open and stable multilateral trading system. The World Trade Organization (WTO), established in 1995, succeeded the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Hong Kong is a founding member of the WTO and has been participating actively in its activities. Hong Kong has continued its separate membership after return to China in 1997 using the name "Hong Kong, China".

HONG KONG'S ECONOMY IN 2017

The economy of Hong Kong is externally oriented and highly dependent on trade with the rest of the world. In 2017, Hong Kong's economy grew by 3.8% in real terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 2016. The value of total merchandise trade amounted to HK$8,232.9 billion (309% of GDP) in 2017 with imports and exports at HK$4,357.0 billion (164% of GDP) and HK$3,875.9 billion (146% of GDP) respectively. In 2017, Hong Kong was the world's 7th largest trading economy in goods – the 7th largest exporter and the 7th largest importer.

The services sector continues to be very important to the Hong Kong economy. It contributed 92% to the GDP in 2016 and accounted for 88% of the total employment in 2017. Hong Kong's trade in services amounted to HK$1,411.9 billion (53% of GDP) in 2017. In 2017, Hong Kong was the world's 17th largest commercial services trading economy - the 15th largest services exporter and the 18th largest services importer respectively.

ASEAN* AND HONG KONG ARE IMPORTANT TRADING PARTNERS

  • Hong Kong was ASEAN's 6th largest merchandise trading partner** in 2016. As a group, ASEAN was Hong Kong's second largest trading partner** in 2017, after the Mainland of China.
  • Total merchandise trade between Hong Kong and ASEAN amounted to HK$936.8 billion, representing 11.4% of Hong Kong's global merchandise trade in 2017 and registering an annual average growth rate of 5.7% per annum between 2013 and 2017.
  • Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia were Hong Kong's top three trading partners among all ASEAN Member States in 2017. They represented 37.3%, 15.3% and 15.3% of Hong Kong's total merchandise trade with ASEAN respectively.
  • In late 2017, Hong Kong and ASEAN forged a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and an Investment Agreement.  The Agreements will enter into force after Hong Kong and the ASEAN Member States complete the necessary procedures. The FTA will enhance trade and investment flows between the two places, generate new opportunities for businesses and boost the economic growth in the longer term. 
  • Hong Kong and Malaysia signed a Joint Declaration on Strengthening Economic Co-operation on 1 December 2009. The Joint Declaration aims at encouraging and promoting bilateral economic co-operation in a number of areas. Please click here for more information.
  • Hong Kong and Thailand signed a Cooperation Arrangement on Strengthening Trade and Economic Relations on 26 February 2013. The Cooperation Arrangement aims at encouraging and promoting bilateral economic co-operation in a number of areas. Please click here for more information.

ASEAN IS AN IMPORTANT MARKET FOR HONG KONG GOODS

  • In 2017, ASEAN was the second largest market of Hong Kong's goods, after the Mainland of China. Hong Kong's domestic exports to ASEAN amounted to over HK$7.9 billion, accounting for 18.2% of Hong Kong's total domestic exports in 2017.
  • Viet Nam, Singapore and Thailand were the top three markets for Hong Kong products among ASEAN Member States in 2017. They accounted for 30.7%, 30.5% and 13.4% respectively of Hong Kong's total domestic exports to ASEAN.
  • Hong Kong's major domestic exports to ASEAN in 2017 were tobacco and tobacco manufactures; metalliferous ores and metal scrap; and jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares, and other articles of precious or semi-precious materials.

HONG KONG IS AN IMPORTANT ENTREPOT FOR SINO-ASEAN TRADE

  • Hong Kong is an important entrepot for trade between the Mainland of China and ASEAN. Re-exports of goods of ASEAN origin through Hong Kong to the Mainland grew by an annual average rate of 8.3% since 2013. In 2017, around HK$258.4 billion of the Mainland's import of goods from ASEAN were routed through Hong Kong. On the other hand, re-exports of Mainland origin goods to ASEAN through Hong Kong grew by an annual average rate of 5.4% since 2013 and exceeded HK$200.3 billion in 2017.

HONG KONG IS AN IMPORTANT MARKET FOR ASEAN GOODS

  • As a group, ASEAN was Hong Kong's second largest supplier of goods in 2017, after the Mainland of China. Between 2013 and 2017, Hong Kong's imports from ASEAN grew at 6.2% per annum on average. In 2017, 15.0% of Hong Kong's total imports, around HK$652.7 billion, were sourced from ASEAN.
  • Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand were Hong Kong's top three suppliers of goods among all ASEAN Member States in 2017. They took up 44.1%, 17.6% and 13.7% share of Hong Kong's total imports from ASEAN respectively.
  • All ASEAN exports enter Hong Kong at zero tariff. Hong Kong's major imports from ASEAN in 2017 were electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof; office machines and automatic data processing machines; and telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment.

HONG KONG IS AN IMPORTANT LOCATION FOR ASEAN INTERESTS

  • ASEAN is represented in various sectors of the Hong Kong economy. As at June 2017, there were 58 regional headquarters, 142 regional offices and 386 local offices in Hong Kong representing their parent companies located in ASEAN.
  • Hong Kong welcomes ASEAN investment and offers an environment in which there is free flow of capital and return on investment without exchange controls.
  • ASEAN was the sixth largest source of external investment in Hong Kong at end-2016. ASEAN's inward direct investment in Hong Kong amounted to HK$510.1 billion, accounting for 4.0% of the total**.
Hong Kong's Merchandise Trade with ASEAN and Individual Member States in 2017
Ranking Member States Value of
Total Trade
(in HK$ million)
 
Value of
Imports
(in HK$ million)
 
Value of
Domestic Exports
(in HK$ million)
Value of
Re-exports
(in HK$ million)
1 Singapore 349,130 288,107 2,406 58,617
2 Thailand 143,777 89,641 1,060 53,076
3 Malaysia 143,539 114,877 957 27,705
4 Viet Nam 141,277 61,645 2,429 77,203
5 The Philippines 104,730 76,275 430 28,026
6 Indonesia 41,783 19,363 502 21,919
7 Cambodia 9,143 2,011 67 7,065
8 Myanmar 2,959 700 19 2,240
9 Brunei Darussalam 212 53 28 131
10 Laos 207 35 3 169
ASEAN 936,756
(11.4%)
652,706
(15.0%)
7,901
(18.2%)
276,149
(7.2%)
All trading partners 8,232,902 4,357,004 43,455 3,832,443

Notes :

1. Figures in brackets represent the percentage share of ASEAN against all trading partners of Hong Kong.

2. The ranking is based on total value of trade.

3. Due to rounding, the figures may not add up to the total.

* At present, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

** The ranking was arrived at by taking ASEAN as a single entity while all the other trading partners were considered on a per country / economy basis.  The ranking on direct investment was based on some selected economies.
 

While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the above information, the Department cannot guarantee this to be so and will not be held liable for any reliance placed on the same.

Trade and Industry Department
The Government of the Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region

Telephone : (852) 2398 5594
Website: www.tid.gov.hk

May 2018