Business / Economy

Mainland and Hong Kong reach CEPA service trade agreement


Zheng Xin

Updated: 2015-11-27 16:42

The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong reached a Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement on service trade on Friday, opening up a new era of liberalization in service trades between the two sides.

The arrangement, signed by Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen and John Tsang, the Hong Kong SAR Government Financial Secretary, will be implemented on June 1, 2016, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The agreement outlined principled regulations with a range of applications, bilateral obligations, most favored treatment, financial prudence principles, supporting measures, exception clauses, restrictive measures, trans boarder services, special procedures and information requirements and investment facilitation.

It also illustrates the mainland's restrictive measures in the format of negative listing under Hong Kong's current business model and the mainland's newly added measures in fields of trans-border service, telecommunications and culture.

According to the ministry, the agreement is based on the experiences and efforts to forge closer economic ties between China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone and Hong Kong earlier, while bringing about more innovative measures to boost business of higher level and stronger capacity.

The mainland will open up 153 service sectors to Hong Kong, 95.6 percent of the 160 service sectors related to the World Trade Organization, it said.

The agreement also ensures that Hong Kong is given the most favorable treatment in the mainland, which means any free trade agreement the mainland signed with other countries or regions applies to Hong Kong as long as it's more favorable than the CEPA.

The liberalization of service trade between the mainland and Hong Kong will not only help Hong Kong strengthen its status as a hub for international finance, trade and shipping and enhance its development of the emerging modern service industry, but also brings more vitality to the mainland's service sector, it said.

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