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Published: 09:50, December 10, 2023 | Updated: 09:56, December 10, 2023
WTO members commend Hong Kong for its free trade regime
By Wang Zhan
Published:09:50, December 10, 2023 Updated:09:56, December 10, 2023 By Wang Zhan

Maggie Wong Siu-chu (second left), director-general of trade and industry of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Saqer Abdullah Almoqbel (second right), the chairperson of the WTO Trade Policy Review Body, and other attendees pose for a photo during the WTO Trade Policy Review meeting of Hong Kong, China, on Dec 8, 2023, in Geneva, Switzerland. (PHOTO / WTO)

HONG KONG – Members of the World Trade Organization have commended Hong Kong, China for its continued adoption of free and open trade policies and maintaining strong fiscal and financial fundamentals even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hong Kong's business-friendly rankings, predictable tax environment and legal system made the city an important trade hub, said the WTO members at a Trade Policy Review meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday.

Praising Hong Kong for its detailed and informative updates on its trade and economic policies including on financial services, intellectual property rights, trade facilitation, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), women participation and green transition, Chairperson of the review body Saqer Abdullah Almoqbel said Hong Kong maintained its status as one of the most prominent international trade and financial hubs, and as a market-orientated economy.

Maggie Wong Siu-chu emphasized that Hong Kong will keep advancing the ongoing negotiations and reforming discussions with other WTO members

The WTO members have shown appreciation for the city’s continued adoption of a free and open trade policy and commitment to the multilateral trading system including its constructive participation in WTO committees and WTO reform.

READ MORE: HK business community praises 'fair, just' WTO ruling

He noted that the city’s business-friendly rankings, predictable tax environment and legal system made it an important trade hub.

“In the midst of increasing unpredictability of the world economy, a rules-based, non-discriminatory and transparent multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core becomes all the more important,” said Maggie Wong Siu-chu, who led the Hong Kong delegation, adding that Hong Kong takes pride and is encouraged by commendation and recognition from the WTO members.

Maggie Wong Siu-chu, director-general of trade and industry of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), delivers her speech at the World Trade Organization Trade Policy Review meeting of Hong Kong, China, on Dec 6, 2023, in Geneva, Switzerland. (PHOTO / WTO)

Elaborating on Hong Kong’s efforts in enhancing intellectual property right protection in the present-day digital environment, she emphasized that Hong Kong will keep advancing the ongoing negotiations and reforming discussions with other WTO members. 

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During the meeting, Wong, the director-general of Trade and Industry, dismissed misleading concerns about Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy. 

"Hong Kong, China continues to exercise a high degree of autonomy, with the rule of law and judicial independence at the heart of our legal system,” she said, adding that with the implementation of the national security law, social and economic activities have returned to normal and business confidence has been restored in the city.

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Wong also updated Hong Kong’s latest development strategies, including efforts to attract talent and enterprises, fostering an inclusive and sustainable economy that entails green transition, and enhanced support for women and SMEs.

The meeting, part of the WTO Trade Policy Review Mechanism, aims at enhancing the transparency and understanding of members’ trade policies and practices between participants of the global organization.

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