Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang signed the 10th supplement to the Mainland & Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, or CEPA, August 29, 2013.
He signed the deal with Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Yan at the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong. It provides for a total of 73 services liberalisation, and trade and investment facilitation measures. It brings the total number of liberalisation measures for trade in services under CEPA to 403.
Mr Tsang said among the supplements made since the signing of CEPA in 2003, Supplement X contains the greatest number of measures.
“Some of the measures are more liberal than those contained in recent supplements and some have been longed by the trades for a long time.”
The measures further relax market access conditions for 28 services sectors, such as legal, banking, securities, telecommunications and construction, which are already benefiting from CEPA and previous supplements. The measures will be implemented in January.
On the financial side, the Mainland has agreed to study mutual recognition of fund products between it and Hong Kong, and support qualified Hong Kong insurers to take part in compulsory traffic accident liability insurance business on the Mainland. To facilitate trade and investment, the Mainland will strengthen co-operation in the areas of commodity inspection and quarantine, food safety, quality and standardisation, and intellectual property protection.
The Trade & Industry Department said CEPA is the most liberalised free trade agreement signed by the Mainland and Supplement X has included various additional liberalisation measures covered in the services agreement signed by the Mainland and Taiwan in June.
It said the various new measures will enable Hong Kong services industries to develop the Mainland market, and are conducive to the continued economic co-operation and development of the two places.
The Central Government has pledged to basically achieve, through CEPA, liberalisation of trade in services between the Mainland and Hong Kong before the end of the National 12th Five-Year Plan period. The signing of Supplement X to CEPA marks a further step towards this goal, the department added.