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Hong Kong has for a long time been an important trade and economic partner of New Zealand. Like us, Hong Kong has been a strong proponent for open markets and supporter of the multilateral trading system. It is a valuable and like-minded partner in both the WTO and APEC contexts, and an important gateway for some firms to mainland China for products, services and investment. On 1 January 2011 the New Zealand-Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Agreement entered into force; on 13 October 2011 an Education Cooperation Arrangement was signed; on 10 November 2011 the Double Tax Agreement entered into force; and in late 2010 negotiations began on an Investment Protocol between New Zealand and Hong Kong.
On the political side, we share a common commitment to the rule of law, the preservation of individual rights and the independence of the courts. That shared commitment is based on common law legal traditions, and is reflected in the presence of a number of New Zealanders in Hong Kong practicing law at high levels and through the number of senior New Zealand judges that have served on Hong Kong’s highest court, the Court of Final Appeal.
Official Name: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China
Land Area: 1,042 sq km
Population: 7.098 million, end 2010, up 0.9% yoy, (Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department)
Religion: Mainly Buddhist and Christian
Language: Chinese and English are the official languages, although the Cantonese dialect is most widely spoken, followed by English and Mandarin
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
Other Key Social and Economic Indicators
FDI inflows: US$68.9 billion in 2010
Total stock of inward direct investment: US$1,086 billion in 2010 (est) (=4.86 times GDP)
FDI outflows: US$76 billion in 2010 (est)
Interest rate: 0.5% pa (January 2012)
Stock Market Capitalisation: US$2.7 trillion with 1,496 listed companies by end 2011
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% for November 2011 – January 2012
Retail sales: US$52 billion, +24.8% for 2011 (compared to a 18.3% rise in 2010)
Political system: Executive-led government
National government: Chief Executive (CE) with an Executive Council (ExCo) appointed by the CE
National legislature: Legislative Council (LegCo) (70 seats in 2012 under new Constitutional Package; 30 seats to be indirectly elected by functional constituencies, and 40 to be elected by popular vote; members serve four-year terms)
- For Chief Executive: CY Leung was elected on 25 March 2012. He starts his term on 1 July 2012. He is the third Chief Executive.
- For Legislative Council: 7 September 2008
Next election due:
- For Chief Executive: March 2017
- For LegCo: September 2012
Head of State: President Mr HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003)
Head of Government: Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Chief Executive (since 24 June 2005)
US$224.9 billion (2010)
GDP breakdown: Services: 92.6 %; Construction: 3.2%; Manufacturing: 1.8% Electricity, gas and water supply, and waste management: 2.3%; Agriculture and fishing: 0.1%
GDP per capita: US$ 31,746 (official actual figure for 2010)
Real GDP growth: +6.8% (official actual figure for 2010)
Exports: +22.8% to US$338.6 billion (2010)
Imports: +25.0% to US$431.4 billion (2010)
Inflation: +3.7% for February 2011; +2.4% (2010)
Budget balance: Surplus of US$4.3 billion for 2011 (1.8% of GDP - est
NZ Imports (CIF): NZ$156.3 million (2011, 36th largest import source)
Total No. of Overseas Visitor Arrivals in New Zealand from Hong Kong: There were 25,397 arrivals from Hong Kong (2011), up 4.6% from 2010.
Hong Kong is an important trading partner for New Zealand (12th largest export market and 21st largest trading partner in 2011) and source of investment (8th largest source of FDI in the year to March 2011), with part of its strength being as an entry point and platform into China.
New Zealand’s major exports to Hong Kong include food and beverages, fish products, some hides and skins, ships and boats, electrical machinery, race horses and paper and wood products. It is a strong market for high-end tourists and students (secondary and tertiary).
More specifically, in regards to trade and economic links, New Zealand focuses on:
New Zealand experiences few trade access difficulties with Hong Kong, reflecting the openness of its economy, the efficiency and expertise of its public sector, and also the absence of any vested interests in the agriculture area.
New Zealand concluded 'Closer Economic Partnership' (CEP) negotiations with Hong Kong in November 2009 and the CEP was signed by Minister of Trade Tim Groser and Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau on 29 March 2010. It entered into force on 1 January 2011. The CEP secures duty-free access for New Zealand goods into Hong Kong and will ensure certain access to Hong Kong’s service market. The CEP promotes enhanced cooperation and facilitates improved business flows across a range of economic activities.
Air New Zealand has direct daily flights from Auckland to Hong Kong and, since October 2006, on to London. Cathay Pacific also operates daily direct flights between Hong Kong and Auckland.
An air services agreement between Hong Kong SAR and New Zealand was signed in 1991.
Education is an important element in the relationship. Hong Kong remains a valuable market for attracting international students to New Zealand at the secondary as well as the tertiary level. There were 1,324 Hong Kong students studying in New Zealand in the year to June 2010.
Victoria University of Wellington has established an International MBA course in conjunction with Chinese University of Hong Kong. Massey University also has links with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Such links promote New Zealand education as a quality product and represent an opportunity for building research and constituent links with Hong Kong counterparts.
On 13 October 2011 an Education Co-operation Arrangement between the Ministry of Education and the Education Bureau of Hong Kong was signed. The Arrangement will lead to support for the internationalisation of education and lifelong learning.
Hong Kong SAR is not a significant immigration source for New Zealand; there were 778 permanent and long-term arrivals from Hong Kong (18th largest source in 2011).
A bilateral visa waiver agreement has been concluded between New Zealand and Hong Kong; Hong Kong residents travelling to New Zealand do not require a visa and nor do New Zealanders travelling to Hong Kong.
New Zealand and Hong Kong have a popular Working Holiday Scheme whereby, subject to certain conditions, up to 400 people up to the age of 30 can visit and work in each country for up to one year.
Hong Kong provides a steady and reliable stream of visitors to New Zealand with potential for further growth. There were 25,397 arrivals from Hong Kong (2011), up 4.6% from the previous year. The average length of stay in 2011 was twelve days.
For many years New Zealanders have gone to Hong Kong to work in a wide variety of professions including as teachers, lawyers, accountants, bankers and journalists. The New Zealand ex-pat community continues to thrive and the bilateral relationship is strengthened substantially by these people-to-people links.
The New Zealand Society in Hong Kong celebrated its 50th anniversary in Hong Kong in 2007. It provides a network for New Zealanders in Hong Kong to keep in touch through a diverse range of mainly social activities.
Business linkages between Hong Kong and New Zealand also remain strong with the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association in New Zealand playing an important role in fostering and developing these linkages. The New Zealand Business Advisory Board was established in 2005 to act as a resource and think-tank for New Zealand businesses in Hong Kong.
New Zealand has had resident representation in Hong Kong [external link] since 1960. The Consulate-General and other New Zealand agencies have five New Zealand staff and a total staff of 35, carrying out the business in Hong Kong of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Immigration Service, and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. Also located in Hong Kong is a representative of Tourism New Zealand.
The Consul-General has been accredited to Macau since it became a SAR in 1999.
The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Sydney, established in 1995, promotes Hong Kong interests in New Zealand.
The Safe Travel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Hong Kong [external link].