Thu. Jan 21st, 2021

The Government today announced that the Cambodia portion of the free trade agreement and the investment agreement between Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will take effect on February 12.

It signifies that both agreements signed between Hong Kong and the 10 member states of ASEAN will come into full effect.

Hong Kong enterprises and service providers will enjoy the full benefits as committed to by all 10 ASEAN member states under the agreements. Their business opportunities in ASEAN markets will be greatly enhanced.

Hong Kong forged the free trade agreement and investment agreement with ASEAN in 2017 and the agreements have entered into force gradually since June 2019.

The agreements are comprehensive in scope, encompassing trade in goods and services, investment, economic and technical co-operation, dispute settlement mechanisms and other related areas.

They bring about legal certainty and better market access for Hong Kong enterprises.

They also help reduce the restrictions in doing business and expand business opportunities for Hong Kong enterprises, thus creating a more conducive environment for the development of Hong Kong’s economy.

As for Cambodia, it will progressively reduce and eliminate customs duties on goods originating from Hong Kong.

Cambodia’s tariff commitments cover jewellery, articles of apparel and clothing accessories, watches and clocks as well as toys.

To enjoy the preferential tariff treatment for exporting Hong Kong goods to Cambodia under the agreement, Hong Kong traders have to comply with the relevant preferential rules of origin and fulfil the related requirements, and to apply for certificates of origin from the Trade & Industry Department or Government Approved Certification Organisations to cover the goods concerned.

On trade in services, Hong Kong service providers will enjoy legal certainty in market access for an extensive range of service sectors in Cambodia.

These service sectors include professional, business, telecommunications, construction and related engineering, educational, financial, tourism and travel-related as well as transport services.

Under the investment agreement, Cambodia will provide Hong Kong enterprises investing in its area with fair and equitable treatment of their investments, physical protection and security of their investments, and the assurance of the free transfer of their investments and returns.

In case of expropriation or investment loss due to war, armed conflict or a similar event, Cambodia will also compensate Hong Kong enterprises investing in its area according to the agreed standard under the agreement.

Hong Kong has signed eight free trade agreements with 20 economies. With the free trade agreement between Hong Kong and ASEAN coming into full effect, all the four free trade agreements signed in the current term of the Government will have taken effect.

They are the free trade agreements signed with Macau, Georgia, Australia and the 10 ASEAN member states.

By Bureau