A GUARANTEE Hong Kong will not hit Aussie goods with tariffs is how Australian authorities are hailing a new trade agreement.

Australia and Hong Kong signed the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement and the associated Investment Agreement on Tuesday 26 March.

While much of the agreement is about education and services (not things that belong in a ship), there are also relevant themes for Australian exporters.

“The Australia-Hong Kong FTA will provide increased certainty for Australian service providers and investors,” the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.

“It will lock in continued access to the Hong Kong market for Australian exporters of education, financial and professional services.

“It will also guarantee that Hong Kong will not apply tariffs to Australian goods exports in the future.”

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Agriculture minister David Littleproud praised the deal.

“Locking in zero tariffs and an open regulatory environment for agriculture exports will mean we can keep exporting our high-quality, world-class produce.” Mr Littleproud said.
“Our two-way agricultural trade with Hong Kong is currently worth around $1.4 billion and will continue to grow.”

According to DFAT, Hong Kong was Australia’s twelfth largest trading partner overall in 2017, with total two-way trade in goods and services worth $18.8bn.

In 2017, Hong Kong was Australia’s sixth most important destination for merchandise exports ($12bn) and seventh-largest services market ($3bn).

After signature, Australia is to follow the domestic treaty making processes to ratify the agreements.

This is to include tabling the text of the agreements in Parliament and an inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.

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