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Victoria

Event Recap - Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement Briefing

17 August 2017

ACBC Victoria welcomed Mr Andrew Jacenko, Assistant Director, Services and Trade Negotiations Section, Office of Trade Negotiations, Australia-Hong Kong FTA, and Mr Simon Clayton, Director, FTA Division, Office of Trade Negotiations – ChAFTA Review Team, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to provide a briefing to members and friends on both the recently announced Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (A-HKFTA), as well as a review of progress under the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA).

Australia and Hong Kong launched negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) on 16 May of this year. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and is able to enter into its own trade agreements. An A-HKFTA would complement our North Asian FTAs, including our FTA with China and further integrate the Australian economy with the region.

Andrew’s presentation began with an overview of the Australia-Hong Kong bilateral relationship. Hong Kong was Australia’s eighth largest export market, worth A$11.3 billion last financial year. It is a strong trading relationship with complementary economic strengths, with a shared commitment to open trade. 

Andrew went on to outline why Australia is seeking an FTA with Hong Kong and the various goals of Australia in relation to goods; services including telecommunications, financial services, movement of natural persons and eCommerce; investment; and government procurement. Andrew drew particular attention to the importance of securing new market access in services and binding existing levels of openness, capturing future liberalisation. The services sector accounts for 70 per cent of Australia’s GDP, employing 4 out of 5 Australians. Further, Hong Kong is our seventh largest services market, worth A$2.4 billion in 2015-16. Australia’s services exports to Hong Kong have increased by 50 per cent in the last five years and comprise transport services, personal travel services, education services, financial and other business services.

Written submissions regarding the A-HKFTA can be sent to a-hkfta@dfat.gov.au and more information can be found at www.dfat.gov.au/a-hkfta.

Andrew’s presentation was followed by Simon Clayton, who provided an update on progress made under the ChAFTA. Some key trade outcomes discussed by Simon included:

  • 14% Chinese tariff on Australian fresh and chilled abalone cut to 6% and to be phased out in 2019
  • 4% Chinese tariff on provitamins and vitamins eliminated on entry into force (Dec 2015)

Simon additionally spoke about services and investment outcomes, highlighting that the ChAFTA delivers improved access for Australia’s services exports (including education, health, legal and financial services), and provides a sound basis to deepen and diversify the investment relationship.

Mandated services and investment reviews under the ChAFTA will commence this year. DFAT also welcomes business views and input regarding these areas.

ACBC Victoria warmly thanks Andrew and Simon for their time and expertise, and extends our thanks also to Ms Sarah Noble, Executive Officer – Business Relations, Victoria State Office, DFAT for facilitating the event.