Hong Kong, China


The EFTA States Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland signed a free trade agreement with Hong Kong, China in Schaan, Liechtenstein on 21 June 2011


Entry into force
1 October 2012 for Hong Kong, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland;
1 November 2012 for Norway. 

The Agreement has a comprehensive scope, including trade in goods (industrial and processed agricultural goods, fish and other marine products), trade in services, investment, protection of intellectual property rights, government procurement, competition, trade and environment, and provisions on dispute settlement.
Bilateral arrangements on agricultural products between the individual EFTA States and Hong Kong, China also form part of the instruments establishing the free trade area between both sides.
Alongside the Free Trade Agreement, the Parties concluded an Agreement on Labour.

Content of the Free Trade Agreement

The Free Trade Agreement consists of 11 Chapters, 12 Annexes and 12 Appendixes covering the following subjects:

  • Trade in Goods
  • Trade in Services
  • Investment
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Government Procurement
  • Competition
  • Trade and Environment
  • Institutional Provisions
  • Dispute settlement

Trade in Goods
Upon entry into force of the Agreement, the Parties abolish all customs duties on imports and exports of industrial goods, including fish and other marine products, originating in an EFTA State or in Hong Kong, China (Chapter 2). The rules of origin and the methods of administrative cooperation are set out in Annex IV.
The Agreement provides for tariff concessions on processed agricultural products (Annex II). Tariff concessions on basic agricultural products are covered by bilateral agreements concluded between the individual EFTA States and Hong Kong, China.
Furthermore, the Agreement contains provisions on trade facilitation (Annex V), as well as disciplines on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical regulations, state trading enterprises, subsidies and trade remedies in conformity with the relevant WTO Agreements.
Trade in Services
Chapter 3 on trade in services covers all four modes of supply of a service, as defined under the GATS, and addresses all services sectors. Separate annexes dealing with financial services (Annex VIII) and telecommunications services
(Annex IX) complement the Chapter. Annex VII requires Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Hong Kong, China, to negotiate disciplines on domestic regulation. The Parties’ undertakings in the different sectors are scheduled according to a negative approach whereby Parties individually list their reservations from market access, national treatment or the MFN obligations Annex X).
Chapter 4 on investment aims at improving the legal framework conditions for investors from the EFTA States and Hong Kong, China investing in each other’s territories in activities not covered by Chapter 3 (trade in services). In Annex XI, Parties specify the reservations from national treatment in country-specific lists on the basis of restrictions in their national legislations.
Intellectual Property Rights
The Agreement sets out in Chapter 5 and Annex XII comprehensive rules for the protection of intellectual property rights. These rules are based on the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and include certain clarifications and improvements over TRIPS.
Government Procurement
The Agreement incorporates the Parties’ right and obligations under the plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement (Chapter 6).
In Chapter 7 the EFTA States and Hong Kong, China, acknowledge that certain business practices may restrict competition and thus undermine the benefits accruing from the Agreement. For this purpose, the Parties undertake to cooperate and consult in their dealings with anti-competitive practices.
Trade and Environment
The Parties recognise that economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent and underline that their closer economic partnership can play an important role in promoting sustainable development. In Chapter 8 the EFTA States and Hong Kong, China reaffirm their commitment to multilateral environmental agreements and principles and undertake to uphold levels of protection while recognising the right of each Party to establish its own level of environmental protection.
Institutional Provisions and Dispute settlement
The Agreement establishes a Joint Committee tasked with supervising and administering the Agreement, as well as with the review of possible further liberalization (Chapter 9). Chapter 10 contains the rules applicable to the settlement of disputes among the Parties, including through consultations.

Annexes and Record of Understanding
Trade in Goods Annex I Excluded Products    
  Annex II Processed Agricultural Products Table  
  Annex III Fish and Other Marine Products    
  Annex IV Rules of Origin Appendix 1 Product Specific Rules
      Appendix 2 Origin Declaration
  Annex V Trade Facilitation    
  Annex VI Mandate of the Sub-Committee on Rules of Origin, Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation    
Trade in Services Annex VII Disciplines on Domestic Regulation    
  Annex VIII Financial Services    
  Annex IX Telecommunications Services    
  Annex X List of Reservations and Commitments Appendix 1 Hong Kong, China
      Appendix 2 Iceland
      Appendix 3 Liechtenstein
      Appendix 4 Norway
      Appendix 5 Switzerland
Investment Annex XI Investment Reservations    
IPR Annex XII Protection of Intellectual Property    


Other Agreements
Trade Relations Division

+41 223322 641

EEA Introductory Seminar

This introductory seminar is intended to provide professionals, both inside and outside the European Union, with a thorough understanding of the Agreement on the European Economic Area and how it integrates Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway into the EU’s Internal Market.