Trade pact between Hong Kong SAR, New Zealand to be effective on Jan. 1

19:05, December 31, 2010      

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The Hong Kong, China - New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEP Agreement), which is tantamount to Hong Kong's first free trade agreement with a foreign economy, will enter into force on Saturday, a spokesman of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said on Friday.

The CEP Agreement, signed on March 29, 2010, covers a wide range of areas of mutual interest to Hong Kong SAR and New Zealand, including liberalisation measures in both trade in goods and services.

Under the CEP Agreement, New Zealand will phase out over six years its import tariffs on all goods originating in Hong Kong. Over 90 percent of New Zealand's tariff lines will become duty free within two years after the CEP Agreement has entered into force.

On trade in services, Hong Kong service providers and the services they provide will enjoy secured preferential opportunities in the New Zealand market in a variety of service sectors.

In terms of market access, Hong Kong service providers and the services they provide in a wide range of sectors will be treated no less favorably than their New Zealand counterparts in similar circumstances.

To facilitate movement of business persons, without compromising legitimate immigration control, business persons of the two economies in the categories of business visitors, intra- corporate transferees, and installers or servicers in specified service sectors will be granted temporary entry into Hong Kong SAR and New Zealand under favourable conditions.

To further enhance bilateral investment flows, the two sides have also agreed to negotiate an Investment Protocol to the CEP Agreement, with a view to concluding the investment negotiations in two years after the CEP Agreement has entered into force.

New Zealand is an important trading partner of Hong Kong in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2009, the total bilateral merchandise and services trade amounted to 6.5 billion and 3.7 billion HK dollars respectively. (1 U. S. dollar is equivalent to 7.774 HK dollars)

Source: Xinhua
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