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Hong Kong Invites Submissions On FTA With EFTA

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

29 December 2009


Hong Kong’s government has issued an invitation to all interested parties to make submissions on the areas that a free trade agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) should cover.

The SAR government confirmed that the two sides have agreed to start negotiations on an FTA in early 2010. It should provide Hong Kong’s business sector with better market opportunities in the four EFTA member states – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – and vice versa, thereby, bringing multiple benefits in terms of trade, income and employment.

Hong Kong and these four states are primarily service-oriented economies. Switzerland was only Hong Kong's 12th largest trading partner in 2007 in terms of trade in services, with such trade totalling HKD10.7bn (USD1.4bn), while Norway ranked 28th, with trade amounting to just over HKD920m.

However, two-way merchandise trade between Hong Kong and the EFTA has enjoyed remarkable growth for years, with average annual growth of 15.6% from 2004 to 2008. Total merchandise trade between Hong Kong and the EFTA amounted to about HKD72bn in 2008, making the EFTA, as a whole, Hong Kong's 11th largest trading partner in that year.

The FTA negotiations are expected to cover a number of topics, with emphasis on trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. The final date for submissions is February 12, 2010.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series tracing in detail the course of the last six years both globally and at jurisdiction level, explaining precisely what you get - and don't get - for your money in all of the main offshore jurisdictions, is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report1.asp

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