The new agreement on Trade in Services effective now and will be implemented on 1 June 2016.
The Agreement on Trade in Services (the Agreement) is signed between the HKSAR and the Ministry of Commerce under the framework of the CEPA on 27 November. The Agreement will achieve liberalisation of trade in services between the Mainland and HK, enabling both sides to reach a new milestone.
Major contents of the Agreement are summarised as follows:
* China has fully or partially opened 153 sectors to HK services industry, accounting for 95.6% of all the 160 World Trade Organization services trade sectors, in respect of the mode of “commercial presence”, national treatment will be applied to HK in 62 sectors
* Adding 28 liberalisation measures in the positive lists for cross-border services as well as cultural and telecommunications services.
Chief Executive CY Leung witnessed the signing of the Agreement on Trade in Services by Financial Secretary John Tsang and Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen on 27 November.
Signed by the Special Administrative Region Government and the Ministry of Commerce under the framework of the Mainland & Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), the new accord makes reference to the Agreement between the Mainland & Hong Kong on Achieving Basic Liberalisation of Trade in Services in Guangdong signed last year.
It becomes a stand-alone, subsidiary agreement relating to trade in services under the CEPA framework.
The agreement further enhances the liberalisation in both breadth and depth, including extending the implementation of the majority of Guangdong pilot liberalisation measures to the whole Mainland; reducing the restrictive measures in the negative list; and adding 28 liberalisation measures in the positive lists for cross-border services as well as cultural and telecommunications services.
Under the new agreement, there are 153 sectors which the Mainland has fully or partially opened up to the Hong Kong services industry, accounting for 95.6% of all the World Trade Organisation services trade sectors. In respect of the mode of “commercial presence”, national treatment will be applied to Hong Kong in 62 sectors.
Hong Kong’s favourable position to enjoy the Mainland’s most preferential liberalisation measures is assured by the agreement’s Most-Favoured Treatment provision, which specifies that any preferential treatment the Mainland accorded to other countries or regions, if more preferential than those under CEPA, will be extended to Hong Kong.
The agreement will come into effect immediately and be implemented on June 1, 2016.