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Hong Kong Benefits From CEPA With China: MOFCOM

by Mary Swire, Lowtax.net, Hong Kong
18 May, 2016

Hong Kong has derived significant benefits so far from the operation of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Finance told a recent press briefing.

Under the CEPA, which was signed in 2003 and has been supplemented ten times, the Mainland gives zero tariff treatment to all products of Hong Kong origin, and has adopted more than 400 liberalization measures in respect of trade in services. Hong Kong service suppliers can now access most services sectors in the Mainland.

The spokesperson noted that the CEPA "contributes greatly to the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong's economic development." Following its implementation, the Mainland is the largest trading partner of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong is the Mainland's most important trading partner, as well as a key export market and the Mainland's largest offshore financial center.

They said that goods exported from Hong Kong to the Mainland during the period 2006 to March 2016 had reached a total of USD9.7bn, with a gain from tariff cuts of around RMB5.4bn (USD826m). They also disclosed that Hong Kong now accounts for 17.2 percent of the Mainland's total trade in services.

In addition, visits to Hong Kong by Mainland tourists under the Individual Visit Scheme increased to 27.9m in 2015, from only 670,000 in 2003. As at the end of 2014, such visits had generated USD99.3bn in direct revenue for Hong Kong.

The CEPA permits Hong Kong residents to obtain industrial and commercial Mainland business licenses. Almost 7,800 individual businesses from Hong Kong had registered in the Mainland by the end of 2015, employing almost 22,000 people.

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