Hong Kong - Switzerland
The bilateral relationship between Hong Kong and Switzerland remains stable. In 2017, Switzerland ranked 17th among Hong Kong’s trading partners in the world. The total trade between the two places amounted to CHF 10.3 billion in 2017. About CHF 2.0 billion or 5.6% of the total trade between Switzerland and the Mainland of China was routed through Hong Kong in 2017.
In 2017, Hong Kong's main export to Switzerland was jewellery (84.3%). Major Swiss exports to Hong Kong included watches and clocks (39.8%) and jewellery (21.9%).
As of June 2017, there were 55 regional headquarters, 84 regional offices and 99 local offices in Hong Kong representing parent companies located in Switzerland as well as using Hong Kong as a gateway for doing businesses with the Mainland of China and the rest of Asia.
In January 2018, authorities and private sector representatives from Hong Kong and Switzerland signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) in Switzerland on strengthening collaboration in financial markets, fintech and promotion of private wealth management.
In October 2017, Hong Kong has signed an agreement with Switzerland for conducting automatic exchange of financial account information in tax matters (AEOI).
In June 2011, Hong Kong and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), of which Switzerland is a member, signed a Free Trade Agreement. The agreement is Hong Kong's first free trade agreement with European economies. It covers trade in services and goods as well as investment, and other trade-related issues like protection of intellectual property. The agreement has further strengthened bilateral relations between Hong Kong and Switzerland.
Hong Kong and Switzerland also signed a comprehensive agreement on the avoidance of double taxation (CDTA) in December 2010. The CDTA would help investors better assess their potential tax liabilities from cross-border economic activities, foster closer economic and trade links between the two places, and provide added incentives for companies in Switzerland to do business or invest in Hong Kong, and vice versa.
Recent high-level visits underline the importance of relations between the two places. In September 2018, the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, welcomed the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Professor Klaus Schwab, to Hong Kong. In October 2017, Ms Corine Mauch, Mayor of Zurich visited Hong Kong and met with the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam. In April 2017, Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, Head of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), led a delegation from the Confederation and Swiss financial centre to Hong Kong. Ambassador Livia Leu, Head of the Bilateral Economic Relations Division at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, visited Hong Kong in November 2016. Mr Jorg Gasser, State Secretary for International Financial Matters, visited Hong Kong in July 2016. Dr Guy Morin, President of the canton of Basel-City, and Dr Karin Lenzlinger, Chairman of the Management Board of the Zurich Chamber of Commerce, both visited Hong Kong in March 2016, while Ms Monika Rühl, Director of Economiesuisse, visited Hong Kong in January 2016. Dr Eva Herzog, Minister of Finance of the Canton of Basel-City, visited Hong Kong in March 2015 and May 2014. In January 2015, the Managing Director of the Center for Regional Economic Development of the University of Bern, Dr Aymo Brunetti, visited Hong Kong.
From Hong Kong, in January 2018, the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam; the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr James Lau; and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, visited Switzerland and met with senior government officials and representatives from the financial services, innovation and technology, culture and education sectors. Mrs Carrie Lam also spoke at two panel sessions at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2018 in Davos. In January 2017, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, attended the World Trade Organization (WTO) Informal Ministerial Gathering in Davos, Switzerland. Earlier, in December 2016, Mr Gregory So, visited Switzerland to promote closer trade and economic ties between Hong Kong and the country. In the same month, the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, visited Switzerland and met with officials at the federal level responsible for refugee matters. A delegation of the Hong Kong Legislative Council Panel on Education visited Switzerland in September 2015 to study the Swiss vocational education and training systems.
During 2017, 60 215 Swiss visited Hong Kong.
Useful Information in Hong Kong
Consulate General of Switzerland in Hong Kong
Suite 6206-07, Central Plaza, 18 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Phone: +852 3509 5000 Fax: +852 3509 5050