Hong Kong and Australia open talks on fintech free trade agreement

By David Tuckwell on Wednesday 17 May 2017

Alternative LendingSavings and Investment

Barriers for Australian fintechs entering Hong Kong's market are already low, but they soon could be lower.

A new Australia-Hong Kong free trade agreement is in the wind and fintech is part of the deal.

Australia and Hong Kong have opened talks on a new free trade agreement which will include a significant fintech component.

The FTA will focus on locking in current open policy settings for fintechs as well as widening access for service providers as far as possible, the Australian government says.

“Australia aims to support [fintech] through FTA commitments on: the free flow of data across borders; the removal of any requirement to store business information locally; and the disclosure of source code as a condition for selling software,” a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told AltFi. 

“We hope that [the] FTA will be concluded relatively swiftly. However, we are not prepared to sacrifice quality for speed.”

Tariffs on Australian goods sold in Hong Kong are already at zero and the new FTA, the government hopes, will complement the FTAs already in place with China, Japan and South Korea.

Hong Kong is the eighth largest market for Australian exports and twelfth largest trading partner overall, with two-way trade in goods and services worth $15.3 billion.

Australia and Hong Kong are already bound by a 1993 investment treaty, which holds open the flow of capital between each country.  

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