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Hong Kong’s Trade and Economic Relationship with Australia

(as at June 2018)

Points to Note
  1. The average annual growth rate in bilateral trade between Hong Kong and Australia was -0.2%1 from 2013 to 2017. The bilateral trade increased by 3.7% in 2017.

  2. In 2017, Australia was Hong Kong’s 19th largest trading partner, our 13th largest market for domestic exports, 16th largest market for re-exports, and 22nd largest source of imports.

  3. Reciprocally, Hong Kong was Australia’s 13th largest trading partner, 6th largest export market and 35th largest source of imports in 20172.

  4. In 20173, Hong Kong was the world’s 7th largest trading entity in merchandise trade while Australia ranked 23rd.

  5. In 2017, HK$35.2 billion4 (US$4.5 billion) worth of trade between Australia and the Mainland of China was routed through Hong Kong, representing around 3%5 of the total trade between Australia and the Mainland.


Summary of Hong Kong’s Trade with Australia

(Value in million)

2016 % Change
over 2015
2017 % Change
over 2016
(a) Domestic Exports HK$668
(US$86)
-31.76 HK$751
(US$96)
+12.5
(b) Re-exports


- of Mainland origin
HK$34,091
(US$4,392)

HK$28,213
(US$3,635)
82.8%*
-2.8


-5.9
HK$35,046
(US$4,497)

HK$29,531
(US$3,789)
84.3%*
+2.8


+4.7
(c) Total Exports
[(a)+(b)]
HK$34,759
(US$4,478)
-3.6 HK$35,797
(US$4,593)
+3.0
(d) Imports HK$17,470
(US$2,251)
+13.5 HK$18,383
(US$2,359)
+5.2
(e) Total Trade
[(c)+(d)]
HK$52,229
(US$6,729)
+1.5 HK$54,180
(US$6,952)
+3.7
(f) Balance of Trade
[(c)-(d)]
HK$17,288
(US$2,227)
HK$17,414
(US$2,234)


* Figure denotes percentage share of Mainland-origin re-exports over total Hong Kong re-exports to Australia.


Major Categories of Commodities Traded between Hong Kong and Australia

Domestic Exports
In 2017, Hong Kong’s major domestic export items to Australia were miscellaneous edible products and preparations (19.0%); non-ferrous metals (13.3%); and tobacco and tobacco manufacturers (13.0%).

Re-exports
In 2017, Hong Kong’s major re-export items to Australia were telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (34.0%); office machines and automatic data processing machines (11.3%); and articles of apparel and clothing accessories (10.7%).

Imports
In 2017, Hong Kong’s major import items from Australia were vegetables and fruit (12.4%); telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (10.8%); and meat and meat preparations (9.9%).

 

1 From 2013 to 2017, the year-on-year bilateral trade growth rates were: -6.3% (2014), 0.5% (2015), 1.5% (2016) and 3.7% (2017) respectively.
2 Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia.
3 Source: WTO Statistics Database.
4 Trade between Australia and the Mainland routed through Hong Kong is estimated by summing up (i) Australian origin re-exports to the Mainland; and (ii) Mainland-origin re-exports to Australia (Source: C&SD).
5 The percentage = (a) Trade routed through Hong Kong ÷ (b) Total trade (including re-export) between the Mainland and Australia. While (a) is worked out from statistics compiled by C&SD (please see footnote 4), (b) is obtained by adding total trade figure from the Mainland’s General Administration of Customs and C&SD’s figure of Mainland-origin re-export to Australia via HK. Since two different sources of data are involved, the calculated percentage is solely indicative.
6 The decrease was mainly due to the decrease in domestic exports of “optical goods” by 99.1% in 2016. This product item accounted for 38.5% of domestic exports to Australia in 2015.

 

Points to Note
  1. The average annual growth rate in bilateral trade in services between Hong Kong and Australia was -1.4%7 from 2012 to 2016. The bilateral trade in services increased by 1.0% in 2016.

  2. In 2016, Australia was our 7th largest trading partner, 8th largest export market (2.4% of total exports of services), and 6th largest source of imports (4.2% of total imports of services).

  3. In 20178 , Hong Kong was the world’s 17th largest commercial services trading entity while Australia ranked 25th.


Summary of Hong Kong’s Trade in Services with Australia

(Value in million)

2015 % Change
over 2014
2016 % Change
over 2015
(a) Exports HK$18,954
(US$2,445)
-7.9 HK$17,733
(US$2,285)
-6.4
(b) Imports HK$22,360
(US$2,884)
+2.5 HK$23,994
(US$3,091)
+7.3
(c) Total Trade
[= (a) + (b)]
HK$41,314
(US$5,329)
-2.6 HK$41,727
(US$5,376)
+1.0
(d) Net Export of Services
[= (a) – (b)]
-HK$3,406
(-US$439)
- -HK$6,261
(-US$807)
-

Export of Services

From 2012 to 2016, the average annual growth rate of exports of services to Australia was -5.9%. In 2016, the top three components of services exports were transport, travel and other business services.

Import of Services

From 2012 to 2016, the average annual growth rate of imports of services from Australia was 2.7%. In 2016, the top three components of services imports were travel, transport and other business services.

 

7 From 2012 to 2016, the year-on-year bilateral trade growth rates were: -3.2% (2013), -0.8% (2014), -2.6% (2015) and -1.4% (2016) respectively.
8 Source: WTO Statistics Database.
  1. At the end of 2016, Australia was the 19th major source of inward direct investment (IDI) into Hong Kong9, with an IDI stock of HK$24.5 billion (US$3.2 billion). The IDI flow from Australia was HK$4.2 billion (US$0.5 billion) in 2016.

  2. At the end of 2016, Australia was the 6th major destination of outward direct investment (ODI) from Hong Kong9, with an ODI stock of HK$135.3 billion (US$17.4 billion). The ODI flow to Australia was -HK$9.9 billion (-US$1.3 billion)10 in 2016.

  3. In a survey covering some 8,200 companies in Hong Kong with parent companies located outside Hong Kong, as at June 2017, there were 35 regional headquarters, 48 regional offices and 91 local offices in Hong Kong representing parent companies located in Australia.

 

9 Ranking based on some selected economies.
10 Negative outflow does not necessarily relate to equity withdrawal. It may be the result of repayment of loans by non-resident affiliates.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation in Wine-Related Businesses between Hong Kong and Australia was signed on 16 April 2009.
Hong Kong and Australia signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and an Investment Agreement on 26 March 2019, which are comprehensive in scope, covering trade in goods, trade in services, investment, intellectual property, government procurement, competition and other related areas. The FTA and the Investment Agreement negotiations between Hong Kong and Australia commenced in May 2017 and were concluded in November 2018. They will take effect after Hong Kong and Australia have completed their respective internal procedures.

Details of the two agreements are available on the dedicated webpages of Trade and Industry Department.
Australia* Hong Kong#
2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017
Population
(million)
24.0 24.4 [24.8] 7.3 7.4 [7.4]
Current GDP
(US$ billion)
1,233 1,265 1,380 309 321 [342]
Current GDP
per capita (US$)
51,344 51,873 [55,707] 42,431 43,737 [46,218]
Real GDP growth
(% change)
2.5 2.6 2.3 2.4 2.1 [3.8]
CPI (% change) 1.5 1.3 2.0 3.0 2.4 1.5
Unemployment (%) 6.1 5.7 5.6 3.3 3.4 3.1


* Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF) – World Economic Outlook Database, April 2018 Edition. IMF’s estimated figures are in square brackets..

# Source: C&SD. Estimated figures are in square brackets..




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