Trade and Market Information
Hong Kong is a member of the World Trade Organization and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation). The country has also signed a Free Trade Agreement with New Zealand. Hong Kong also has free port status and its customs system is separate from that of China. Honk Kong’s status as a free port means that there are no customs duties except for:
- Tobacco: tax calculated on volume.
- Alcohol over 30%: taxed at 100% of the custom’s value.
- Beer: taxed at 30% of the custom’s value.
- Petroleum products: tax calculated on volume and value.
All merchandise must be inspected and must receive customs approval even if no duty is payable. The importer must also complete the Customs and Excise Department form within 14 days of importation.
Export permits are also needed for:
- Certain chemicals prescribed by law.
- Live animals.
- Certain textiles.
- Frozen rice, meat and poultry.
- Radio equipment.
- Alcoholic drinks.
- Petroleum products.
Retail accounts for US $31 billion in Hong Kong and it is divided into several segments. There are many small family businesses, supermarkets (Sincere, Wing, Jusco) that sell mass-market products and major shops that focus on high-quality products (Lane Crawford, Seibu, Sogo). A few discount shops sell perishable products. There are two types of consumers in Hong Kong: locals (6.5 million) and tourists who have a particular taste for luxury items.
Transport in Hong Kong plays a very important role in the economy. The country is home to the world’s largest airport and the world’s third-largest container port, making it one of the most important logistics hubs in Asia. Around 250 million tons of products pass through Hong Kong every year and the city is one of the best gateways to the Chinese market. Hong Kong ship owners control 6% of the global maritime fleet.
Hong Kong industry represents 9% of the country’s GDP, with textiles and electrical products being the dominant sectors. The field of electronics is in decline, but the country’s interest in the high-tech sector is seeing growth.
Employment Law in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong the working week lasts between 40 and 48 hours and there is no minimum wage. However, the average gross monthly salary is 11,000 HK$ (about $1,400). Employers pay no social contributions, employment contracts are regulated by the law and collective agreements. The two types of contracts are permanent or fixed-term. Hong Kong has no legal retirement age, although, on average, it is 62.
Although trade bodies such as the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) exist their influence is limited.
Intellectual Property Regime in Hong Kong
|Type of rights||Text of Act||Validity of protection||Agreements signed|
|Patents||Patent ordinance 1997||20 years||-Patent Cooperation Treaty
-Strasbourg Agreement Concerning International Patent Classification
|Brands||Trade Marks ordinance 1874||7 years, renewable for 14 years||– Trademark Law Treaty
– Nice Agreement on the International Classification of Goods and Services
-The Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks
|Designs||Registered Designs Ordinance, chapter 522 of the laws of Hong Kong||5 years, renewable a maximum of four times|
|Reproduction rights||Copyright Ordinance of June 27, 1997, chapter 528 of the laws of Hong Kong||50 years||– Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
– Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms
– Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers
– WIPO Copyright Treaty
– WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
Hong Kong Political Data
Executive and legislative powers share the management of Hong Kong:
Executive power is held by the Chief Executive, appointed for a period of five years by 800 electors (parliamentarians, representatives of the professional world and designated individuals). Since 1 July 2012, Leung Chun-Ying has been at the head of the executive and a government composed of 12 Secretaries and 17 senior officials (Permanent Secretaries) is accountable to him. The three most influential Secretaries are the Chief Secretary, the Financial Secretary and the Secretary for Justice, who replace the Chief Executive, if the situation so requires, in that order of importance. The latter is also supported by the Executive Council (Exco), consulted on every important political decision.
Legislative power is held by the Legislative Council (60 members) elected under a special system: 30 members are chosen by universal suffrage, and the other 30 are appointed by functional constituencies of the professional sectors (education, finance, real estate, etc.). The Legislative Council’s role is to originate and approve laws, approve the budget, taxes and public spending. It also appoints the judges of the Court of Appeal and the president of the High Court. The Legislative Council is elected for four years.
Hong Kong has no official party system but since no legislation applies to political groups there are several parties, which are generally registered as companies, these include :
- The ADPL: Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood.
- The Civic Party: environmental protection and promotion of minorities.
- DAB: pro-Chinese conservative party.
- The Democratic Party: democratic and pro-liberal.
- The Frontier: radical democrat party calling for the total independence of Hong Kong.