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Canada and Hong Kong Sign Bi-lateral Investment Agreement

Canadian Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland and Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So assembled in Toronto on 10 February for the official signing of the bi-lateral foreign investment promotion and protection agreement that the two sides concluded in May 2015. Canadian authorities indicate that FIPAs help ensure fair treatment for investors and create a more predictable and transparent business environment through reciprocal, legally binding provisions. These types of arrangements set out clear rules governing investment relations, including in the areas of dispute resolution and protection against discriminatory and arbitrary practices, giving businesses greater confidence to invest.

Minister Freeland described Hong Kong as a “natural partner for Canadian businesses” due to Canada’s established trade and investment links, noting that the new FIPA “will help Canadian businesses more easily access this reliable entry point into the larger Asia-Pacific region.” Secretary So, for his part, highlighted Hong Kong’s position as “the key trade and investment centre of Asia and an ideal gateway for Canadian businesses to tap into the vast market potential in the region, particularly the Mainland of China.” According to Mr. So, the FIPA “will give additional assurance to investors, expand investment flows between Hong Kong and Canada and further strengthen our existing strong economic and trade ties.”

Canadian officials believe Hong Kong offers many opportunities for Canadian businesses, including in the areas of financial services, sustainable technologies, professional services, agricultural products and processed food, transportation, information and communications technology, and education. Hong Kong is a priority market under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan.

According to a Canadian government press release, Canadian investment in Hong Kong reached CAN$6.1 billion in 2014 while Hong Kong foreign direct investment in Canada reached CAN$11.1 billion that year. Canadian merchandise exports to Hong Kong totalled CAN$3.9 billion last year, making Hong Kong Canada’s eighth-largest export market for goods. In 2014, Hong Kong was Canada’s seventh-largest market for services.

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