Canada-Hong Kong relations
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Canada is represented in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region by its consulate general in Hong Kong. For mainland China, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada to China in Beijing and its consulates general.
Hong Kong is represented in Canada by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada, in Ottawa. Hong Kong also has an economic and trade office in Toronto, in addition to a liaison office in Vancouver.
Canada’s bilateral relations with Hong Kong reflect longstanding and comprehensive commercial, political and people-to-people ties. In addition to deep-rooted historical ties, the people of Canada and the people of Hong Kong share common values, among them respect for the rule of law, human rights and individual freedoms.
On July 1, 1997, following 150 years of British colonial rule, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Since then, Hong Kong has been governed under the “one country, two systems” framework set out in the Basic Law, and guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Outlined in this internationally registered treaty, Hong Kong is guaranteed its own legislature, legal and judicial systems and economic autonomy under a capitalist system and way of life. Overall, the Basic Law promised to provide Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, while the Central Government of the People’s Republic of China holds responsibility over matters of national defence and foreign relations.
Hong Kong boasts one of the largest Canadian communities abroad (an estimated 300,000 people, based on survey data). This community, along with the significant number of Canadians of Hong Kong descent in Canada, plays an important role in building vibrant bilateral relations.
Canada’s presence in Hong Kong is also reflected in the existence of many Hong Kong-Canadian associations, such as the Chinese Canadian Association, the Canadian Club of Hong Kong, the Canadian University Association, and 28 other active Canadian university and college alumni associations. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong is one of the largest Canadian business organizations outside Canada, with over 1,200 members. Hong Kong has a mature, trade- and services-driven economy with a per capita GDP (at purchasing power parity) comparable to Canada’s. Hong Kong has a solid, well-capitalized banking system, free market environment, established legal institutions and world-class infrastructure. Hong Kong has consistently been designated the world’s freest economy by various international indexes and rankings.
The total Canada-Hong Kong bilateral merchandise trade in 2020 amounted to $2.5 billion, a 44% decrease over $4.4 billion in 2019 essentially due to the COVID-19 pandemic induced travel restrictions and supply chain disruptions. Canada exported $1.9 billion in goods to HK in 2019, and imported $570.8 million, making it Canada’s 16th largest export market. Major Canadian exports to HK are precious stones and metals (mainly unwrought gold), electrical machinery, fish and seafood, and aerospace products. Canada’s exports to HK from January to November 2021 rebounded to $3.4 billion, re-instating HK back on Canada’s top 10 destinations for exports globally).
Canadian service providers excel in a diverse range of sectors such as finance, engineering, information technology and professional services. Reflecting the growing importance of services to HK’s economy, in 2019 HK ranked 8th as a global destination for Canadian exports of services (and the 2nd in Asia behind China), totalling $1.8 billion while services imports from HK totalled $4.3 billion. Total two-way services trade with HK in 2020 was $6.3 billion and Canada’s services deficit with HK was $2.5 billion.
In addition, Hong Kong is a major investment partner for Canada. The total stock of Canadian direct investment in Hong Kong in 2020 stood at $18 billion, and the total stock of Hong Kong direct investment in Canada stood at $22.2 billion over the same period.
The Canada-Hong Kong Avoidance of Double Taxation Treaty (2013) and the bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (2016) offer opportunities to further strengthen the robust Canada-Hong Kong bilateral trade and investment relationship.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Hong Kong work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
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