16The preferential opening measures, which vary considerably from sector to sector, generally include a reduction in the timetable for liberalization under China`s WTO accession protocol and/or additional liberalisation measures and/or a relaxation of the criteria for access to foreign enterprises. Again, this is a largely unilateral commitment, although Hong Kong has pledged not to take further discriminatory measures against the PRC in order to gain access to the 18 sub-sectors covered by the agreement. This second clause could bring some advantages to mainland China: the growth of direct investment in Hong Kong and the acquisition of know-how before the opening of the services sector to foreign competition. Hong Kong insurance companies can gain access to mainland China through a strategic merger with a local group as long as they meet the terms of China`s WTO membership agreement (no Hong Kong company is involved). Trade in services – Hong Kong service providers receive preferential treatment when entering the continental market in different service sectors. Hong Kong professional organizations and continental regulators have also signed a number of agreements or agreements for mutual recognition of professional qualifications. The Closer Economic Partnership Agreement on the mainland and in Hong Kong is an economic agreement between the Hong Kong government and the central government of the People`s Republic of China. Signed on June 29, 2003, it is a free trade agreement that provides Hong Kong products, businesses and residents with preferential access to mainland China. 30 In addition, the EPA is the first bilateral trade agreement signed by Hong Kong. Another agreement is being negotiated with New Zealand. While the Hong Kong authorities do not question the priority given to multilateral negotiations, they make no secret of their willingness to participate, like Singapore, in the dissemination of bilateral and regional agreements to improve the image of the RAD as a regional commercial market. 1A June 29, 2003, the Hong Kong and Mainland China Special Administrative Region signed a bilateral trade agreement, known by the acronym CEPA (Closed Economic Partnership Arrangement)1.
This agreement has three sections: tariff reductions for 273 product categories that Hong Kong exports to the People`s Republic of China (PRC); a privileged opening of the Chinese market to Hong Kong service providers in 17 sectors (increased to 18 in September 2003); and a series of measures to facilitate bilateral trade in goods, capital and people.