Tax-News.com: Hong Kong To Negotiate FTAs With Georgia, Maldives
by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong
09 May 2016
The Government has announced that Hong Kong will soon commence free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Georgia and Maldives, and has prepared a consultation document so that interested parties can put forward suggestions on areas to be covered in the two agreements.
“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 minimize the risk of being marginalized, it is important for Hong Kong to take part in FTA negotiations that involve our major trading partners. FTA negotiations of Mainland China, our largest trading partner that accounts for about 50 percent of our total trade, are of particular value for maintaining Hong Kong’s position as a major trading and logistics hub,” he added.
Provisions in the two new FTAs, which Hong Kong will complete as a separate customs territory and a separate signatory, would likely include the elimination or reduction of tariffs; the liberalization of non-tariff barriers; the liberalization as well as the promotion and protection of investment; and the liberalization of trade in services.
To date, 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 the World Trade Organization Trade in Services Agreement.