Australia and Hong Kong have concluded negotiations on a free-trade agreement, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling it a “significant milestone in our already substantial trade and investment relationship”.
Hong Kong is an important trading partner for Australia, with two-way trade in goods and services coming to $18.8bn in 2017, according to DFAT statistics.
Prime Minister Morrison said in a media statement that Hong Kong was a large and vibrant market of Australian goods and services and is a major gateway for Australian producers into East Asia.
“Under World Trade Organization rules both Australia and Hong Kong have the capacity to increase tariffs but this agreement permanently locks in zero tariffs on all Australian exports to Hong Kong, which is good news for our farmers, and in particular our seafood industry, our beef and pork producers and winemakers,” he said.
Australia now has an FTA with China and Hong Kong, which reaffirms the value we place on the principle of one country, two systems.”
Negotiations for the agreement were launched on 16 May last year, with then-trade minister Steven Ciobo saying the territory had long been a showcase market to engage consumers from Hong Kong, mainland China and across the region.
“Hong Kong is a trendsetter in the region, demanding high-quality products for its sophisticated and wealthy market,” Mr Ciobo said when negotiations were launched.