Published: 14:55, February 28, 2024 | Updated: 15:10, February 28, 2024
'New WTO disciplines to cut red tape, costs for HK firms'
By Wang Zhan

A picture taken in Geneva on February 5, 2024, shows the logo of the intergovernmental World Trade Organization at its headquarters. (PHOTO / AFP)

HONG KONG – A set of commitments agreed under the World Trade Organization that will facilitate services trade has entered into force and will benefit Hong Kong businesses exploring overseas markets, a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government spokesman said Wednesday.

The spokesman said in a statement that the WTO services domestic regulation disciplines will cut red tape and trade costs for Hong Kong firms when they supply their services in other economies participating in the trade initiative.

The disciplines aim to facilitate services trade by improving the transparency, predictability and effectiveness of licensing procedures, qualification requirements, and technical standards that businesses have to comply with to supply their services in a market

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“Hong Kong businesses will benefit from a more transparent and predictable regulatory environment when they enter foreign markets,” the spokesman said.

The disciplines aim to facilitate services trade by improving the transparency, predictability and effectiveness of licensing procedures, qualification requirements, and technical standards that businesses have to comply with to supply their services in a market.

Besides the SAR, 71 other economies, including the European Union, Japan, and the United States, are participating in the initiative. They account for over 92.5 percent of the world services trade.

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Being a highly open economy with a well-established and transparent regulatory regime, the HKSAR’s existing regulatory frameworks are able to comply with all the relevant disciplines, the spokesman said.  

The SAR will apply them to professional services; communication services; construction and related engineering services; distribution services; financial services; tourism and travel related services; recreational, cultural and sporting services; transport services; and six additional sub-sectors under environmental services.