Hong Kong FTA

Overview

Australia and Hong Kong launched negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement in May 2017.

Hong Kong already has zero tariffs levels on Australian goods exports, so this agreement is mainly about services and “non-tariff barriers.”

Australia already has a bilateral investment treaty with Hong Kong (1993), which includes investor rights to sue governments (ISDS). This is the treaty that Philip Morris tried to use to sue the Australian Government over the cigarette plain packaging laws.

ACTU polling reveals community opposition to trade agreements that undermine workers’ rights and government sovereignty

October 9, 2019: Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) polling in the seats of Bass, Brand, Corio, Hunter and Rankin reveals 75 - 80 per cent of voters oppose trade agreements that allow additional work visas without first testing if local workers can fill available jobs and that include Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions that give corporations the right to sue governments for policy decisions that impact on their profit.

MPs consider delay in trade agreement ratification amidst concerns about human rights abuses in Hong Kong

September 5, 2019: Concern about human rights abuses against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong could lead to a delay in the ratification of the Hong Kong trade and investment agreements. This comes after civil society and Union groups, including AFTINET and the ACTU, called on the government to delay voting on the implementing legislation for the agreements until after the human rights situation was resolved.

Media Release: Hong Kong FTA would still allow foreign investors to sue our government, says AFTINET

Tuesday, March 26, 2019: “The Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement and separate Investment Agreement signed today still give special rights to foreign investors to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars in international tribunals if they can argue that a change in law or policy would harm their investment, known as Investor-State

Possible FTA with Hong Kong

26 April 2017: The Australian Government is currently considering a free trade agreement with Hong Kong. At this stage, the Government has put out a press release signalling their intention and is currently inviting public submissions. Read on for our human rights and environmental sustainability concerns.