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European Union External Action

Hong Kong and the EU

Relations between Hong Kong and the European Union (EU) are based on a high-level annual meeting called the Structured Dialogue between the EU and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSARG). It was started in 2005 to ensure that they would maintain close contacts and develop positive relations.

The ninth Structured Dialogue took place in November 2015 in Hong Kong. The two sides discussed a wide range of subjects to deepen mutual understanding, and identified areas of further cooperation. They released a joint press statement.

The European Commission also produces annual reports on developments in Hong Kong, the most recent of which was in 2014.

Hong Kong is a major trading partner with the EU. The importance of Hong Kong to the EU as a trading partner is not only down to the volume of trade between the two, but also because Hong Kong acts as an entry point into China.

Bilateral Trade Relations

The EU is Hong Kong’s second largest trading partner after China, for both imports and exports, while Hong Kong is among the top 20 trading partners for the EU. Total trade in goods between Hong Kong and the EU was €45.3 billion in 2014.

The EU is also a major source of foreign direct investment in Hong Kong — the third largest after China and the British Virgin Islands. It is also the largest source of foreign companies in Hong Kong. At the same time, Hong Kong investment in Europe has grown rapidly in recent years, and in 2014 it became the seventh largest foreign investor in the EU in terms of direct investment stock.

Hong Kong as a Key Channel for EU-China Trade

Hong Kong is an important channel for trade and investment between the EU and China, the world's largest exporter.

According to the Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department, re-exports of EU origin goods through Hong Kong to China have grown by an average rate of more than 30 % per year since China adopted its open door policy in 1978. In 2013, €9.5 billion of China's import of goods from the EU went via Hong Kong, and about €27.4 billion worth of goods went the other way.

Hong Kong's role as a channel to China means it offers high-value opportunities for EU companies. In fact, the EU is the leading source of foreign companies using the Hong Kong-Mainland China Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). Because of the high potential of CEPA, the EU and Hong Kong regularly communicate on CEPA developments and explore ways to maximise the opportunities for EU companies and investors.

European Union Academic Programme (EUAP) Hong Kong

The EUAP is funded by the EU.  In 2012, four local universities (Hong Kong Baptist University, University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Lingnan University) formed the consortium so as to create regional synergies in EU Studies. The EUAP is designed to strengthen EU-Hong Kong relations through academic activities and network building with local, regional and European partners. The EUAP promotes public awareness of the EU as well as its impact on and relationship with Hong Kong. The EUAP promotes academic excellence in EU Studies by building on and further extending existing academic and research activities, and by developing new multidisciplinary activities in the tertiary institutions and for secondary schools in Hong Kong.

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