APEC and Hong Kong
Hong Kong's Participation in APEC
Hong Kong joined APEC in 1991. As provided for in the Basic Law, we continue to participate in APEC using the name "Hong Kong, China" (HKC) as a separate and full member after the change of sovereignty. HKC is represented by the Chief Executive and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development at APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting and APEC Ministerial Meeting respectively.
The Director-General of Trade and Industry is HKC's Senior Official to APEC and the Trade and Industry Department takes a leading role in HKC's participation in the forum, which includes participation in meetings of various APEC fora, as well as the coordination of other Government Bureaux'/Departments' participation in APEC.
As part of HKC's support and contributions to APEC, the Government has seconded a Senior Administrative Officer to the APEC Secretariat in Singapore to undertake work relating to administration and finance.
As part of our efforts to help improve the region's business environment, we have participated actively in the activities under the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), which is a coordinating body for all APEC's work in trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation.
One of the major issues under the CTI is monitoring the progress of economies in achieving free and open trade and investment by 2010 for industrialised economies and by 2020 for developing economies. This is known as the "Bogor Goals" which were agreed by Leaders back in 1994. APEC member economies have agreed to pursue this target by reducing barriers to trade and investment and by promoting the free flow of goods, services and capital. Regular assessments are made to track the progress. Details of the Bogor Goals and the latest assessments of HKC can be found here.
Another important work under CTI relates to the realisation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). In 2014, APEC Economic Leaders adopted the Beijing Roadmap for APEC's Contribution to the Realization of the FTAAP to advance the process in a comprehensive and systematic manner. A Collective Strategic Study to identify the related issues, benefits and challenges of advancing the FTAAP was completed in 2016 and its recommendations were endorsed by APEC Leaders to form the Lima Declaration on FTAAP. CTI will develop and implement work programmes, and to consider next steps towards the eventual realisation of the FTAAP according to the Declaration.
As part of HKC's efforts in support of APEC's supply chain connectivity agenda, we have been working with New Zealand to jointly promote the wider use of global data standards (GDS) in the region. We co-organised capacity building workshops and trade policy dialogue on the use of the GDS. We also led pilot projects and related study to assess the costs and benefits of using GDS to enhance supply chain performance. HKC has also donated US$150,000 to the Sub-fund on Supply Chain Connectivity established in 2014 to provide financial support to APEC member economies for launching projects that seek to enhance the efficiency of the supply chain for goods and promote connectivity in the region.
HKC has also participated actively in the APEC Economic Committee (EC) by sharing our experience with APEC member economies to strengthen their economic and legal infrastructure as well as to enhance ease of doing business in the region. HKC was the convenor of the EC's Friends of the Chair group on Strengthening Economic and Legal Infrastructure from 2015 to 2019, and has assumed the Chairmanship of the EC since September 2019.
In recent years, HKC has been spearheading the development of an APEC-wide cooperative online dispute resolution (ODR) framework for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in business to business transactions under the EC. In this regard, HKC has been organising workshops and policy discussions to develop the APEC Collaborative ODR Framework and its Model Procedural Rules. The Framework and the Procedural Rules were endorsed by the EC, on a pilot basis, in August 2019. The ultimate goal is to develop an online platform under APEC to resolve low-value disputes across borders, which will support participation of MSMEs in international trade by providing speedy and cost-effective dispute resolution through the use of digital technology.
Importance of APEC to Hong Kong
Trade between Hong Kong and other member economies of APEC accounts for some 80% of Hong Kong's external trade. In this regard, APEC provides us with a good opportunity to cooperate with APEC member economies on a wide range of economic and trade issues in the Asia-Pacific region. Given our close economic linkages with other economies in the region, we stand ready to contribute to and benefit from the APEC process.
Over the years, APEC member economies have worked together to improve regional economic integration. APEC has also implemented various business facilitation initiatives such as simplifying customs procedures, enhancing business mobility through the APEC Business Travel Card (for detailed application procedures for Hong Kong businessmen, please click here), promoting electronic commerce and establishing mutual recognition arrangements for telecommunications, electrical and electronic equipment, improving ease of doing business, fostering structural reform and good regulatory practices, etc. Such work has helped improve the region's business environment by slashing business costs and time.
For more information on APEC's achievements and benefits, please click here.
Separately, our full and separate membership in APEC is also an example of the successful implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" concept, and underlines our autonomy in external trade and economic matters.