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Canada-Hong Kong Relations

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.

Canada’s bilateral relations with Hong Kong reflect longstanding and comprehensive political, commercial and people-to-people ties. In addition to deep-rooted historical ties, Canada and Hong Kong share common values, among them respect for the rule of law, human rights and individual freedoms. Canada and Hong Kong enjoy strong cooperation in several key areas, including trade and investment, mutual legal assistance and public health.

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, a document also referred to as Hong Kong’s “mini-constitution.” Under this approach, 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 provides Hong Kong with a large degree of autonomy, while the Central Government of the People’s Republic of China holds responsibility over matters of national defence and foreign relations.

Canada and Hong Kong also enjoy productive cooperation in the context of multilateral organizations of which they are both members, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the World Trade Organization.

Hong Kong boasts one of the largest Canadian communities abroad (an estimated 300,000 people). 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 several Hong Kong-Canadian associations, such as the Chinese Canadian Association, the Canadian Club of Hong Kong and the Canadian University Association, which acts as an umbrella group for some 20 active Canadian university alumni associations. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong is one of the largest Canadian chambers of commerce outside Canada, with over 1,200 members.

Hong Kong is a mature, trade- and services-driven economy with a per capita GDP (at purchasing power parity) comparable to that of a number of developed economies. 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.

In terms of trade with Canada, Hong Kong ranks third as a global destination for Canadian exports of services, with these services worth $2.9 billion in 2017; financial, engineering, information technology and professional services are predominant. In 2017, Hong Kong ranked as Canada’s 13th largest market for merchandise exports, with these exports worth $2.2 billion. For instance, Hong Kong is Canada’s third largest export market in the world for fruit and tree-nut products and fourth largest market for fish and seafood. In addition to importing agricultural products, Hong Kong is an active trading hub in Asia for Canadian products and commodities such as jewellery and silverware, precious metals, and computer and electronic products, among others. Other important Canadian exports to Hong Kong include navigational and medical instruments, and transportation signaling systems.

In addition, Hong Kong is the third largest financial market in Asia and an important source of foreign direct investment in Canada. In 2017, Hong Kong was Canada’s second most popular destination for investment in Asia. The total stock of Canadian direct investment in Hong Kong in 2017 stood at $10.6 billion, and the total stock of Hong Kong direct investment in Canada stood at $12.4 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.

July 2018

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