The agreements cover a general scope and cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, the dispute settlement mechanism and other related areas. The agreements will provide legal certainty, better market access and fair and equitable treatment of trade and investment, creating new business opportunities and further strengthening trade and investment flows between Hong Kong and ASEAN. In 2003, the Central Government of China signed the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Macao Special Administrative Region Government. Supplements I, II, III, IV, V and VI were signed in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The EPA is a successful application of the One Country, Two Systems principle, a new path for institutional cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao and an important step in economic and trade exchanges and cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao. It is a free trade agreement signed by the central government with the various customs territories of Hong Kong and Macao and the first fully implemented free trade agreement in mainland China. Chapter 4 on investment aims to improve the legal environment for investors in EFTA and Hong Kong countries, with China investing in the other country`s territories that are not covered by Chapter 3 (trade in services). In Appendix XI, the contracting parties express their reservations about national treatment in country lists, based on restrictions imposed by their national legislation. Hong Kong> Hong Kong is a founding member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Despite China`s WTO membership, Hong Kong is well positioned to play a key role for U.S. companies wishing to export to China, one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Hong Kong is a commercial hub for mainland China and the region; its commercial enterprises are experts in promoting products and services imported into mainland China.
Similarities in language and cultural traditions have allowed Hong Kong merchants to maximize opportunities for U.S. businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises and early exporters. Hong Kong has a free trade agreement with mainland China, the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which provides duty-free exports of goods originating in Hong Kong and preferential access for certain service sectors. The EPA was signed in 2003 and was then gradually expanded each year. Under the EPA, Hong Kong enjoys free movement of services with a “negative list” covering 134 service sectors for Hong Kong and providing domestic treatment to Hong Kong`s 62 service sectors.