HONG KONG – The Joint Commission established under the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEP Agreement) between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and New Zealand concluded its fourth meeting via video conferencing on Thursday.
According to the HKSAR government, those attending the meeting concurred that the CEP Agreement, since its entry into force in January 2011, had been implemented smoothly and effectively, providing better market access and certainty to businesses of both sides through total elimination of tariffs on trade in goods and broad trade in services liberalization commitments in sectors including business and professional services, communication services, financial services and transport services.
The HKSAR and New Zealand also agreed in principle to update commitments on trade in services pursuant to the most favored nation treatment provision under the CEP Agreement
Both sides also exchanged views on enhancing cooperation to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for post-pandemic recovery.
To further the cooperation between the HKSAR and New Zealand under the CEP Agreement, three implementing arrangements were signed at the meeting to facilitate the ongoing cooperation and communication in the areas of rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and government procurement.
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The HKSAR and New Zealand also agreed in principle to update commitments on trade in services pursuant to the most favored nation treatment provision under the CEP Agreement, under which service providers of each side will be able to enjoy the other side's additional service commitments in its future free trade agreements with other trading partners. Both sides will continue to work closely with a view to promulgating details of the services sectors involved as soon as possible.
The updated commitments will help boost trade and investment flows as well as create more opportunities for businesses and investors in Hong Kong and New Zealand during the post-pandemic economic recovery.
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Both sides also discussed on the HKSAR's request for accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, of which New Zealand is a member. The HKSAR reiterated its readiness to begin substantive discussions with RCEP members and that its accession would bring mutual benefits to both Hong Kong and RCEP members. Both sides will continue to maintain communication in this regard.