Within the framework of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, an agreement on the liberalisation of services was recently signed between Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China’s Guangdong Province covering 58 sectors that include real estate and environmental services and computer support installations, with a partial extension to another 75 sectors. The most prominent activities include logistics, accounting, training, analysis and the technical certification of products, construction and design. Liberalisation will also regard, albeit to a lesser extent, insurance, banks and outbound tourism from China.
The agreement outlines the “national neutrality” by which companies registered in Hong Kong for Chinese purposes will enjoy the same treatment even if management or capital are entirely foreign. The broader liberalisation measures treated in the agreement will allow the Guangdong Region to gradually operate on the same legal free-trade-area basis as Shanghai. It is envisaged that Macao will also soon be able to be covered by the same kind of accord.