Canada–Hong Kong relations

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Canada - Hong Kong relations
Map indicating locations of Canada and Hong Kong

Canada

Hong Kong

Canada–Hong Kong relations refers to international relations between Canada and Hong Kong. Canada has extensive and enduring interests in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Canadian Government supports Hong Kong's "high degree of autonomy" under Chinese sovereignty as provided for by the Sino-British Joint Declaration, Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, and in accordance with China's policy of observing "one country, two systems".

Canadian policy toward Hong Kong is underpinned by its substantial commercial interests, and by the presence of a huge Canadian community living in Hong Kong. Hong Kong boasts one of the largest Canadian communities abroad (an estimated 295,000). Canada and Hong Kong SAR both shares "birthday" on the same day, 1 July, as Canada Day and Hong Kong SAR Establishment Day respectively.

History[edit]

Both Hong Kong and Canada shared common history for being part of the British Empire. Interactions between Hong Kong and Canada increased with the start of Trans-Pacific services of Canadian Pacific Steamship Company (CPSC), a company of Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 19th century. From 1887 through 1941, three specially designed Empress ocean liners—the RMS Empress of China, the RMS Empress of India and the RMS Empress of Japan provided passengers and cargo services, in addition being contracted postal service provider between the British Isles and Hong Kong via Canada began in 1891. CPR initiated an ocean-going service between the port of Vancouver and Victoria, BC and Hong Kong, with calls at Japan and China, and later at Manila, Philippine Islands and Honolulu, Hawaii. This service provided a link for CPR's transcontinental railroad passenger and freight services. Passengers could travel from the British Isles to Eastern Canada, travel across Canada via railway to Vancouver, and onward to Asian destinations including Hong Kong. During 1887, temporary steamship service was initiated on a Vancouver-Yokohama-Hong Kong route.[1] Low-cost labourers from southern China could travel from Hong Kong to Western Canada on the same route, eventually help building the Canadian Pacific Railway (between 1881 to 1885) [2] and Yukon in 1890's for potential gold prospects.

The first ever Canadian representative in Hong Kong was the Canadian Immigration office, which opened in 1923. Canadian first participated in a land battle during the Second World War, abeit a lost battle, was the Battle of Hong Kong. The same mission elevated to become Canadian Trade Commission from 1927 until the Handover of Hong Kong Sovereignty in July 1997, when it became the current mission of Canadian Consulate-General to Hong Kong & Macao.

Bilateral agreements[edit]

Articles 151, 153 and 155 of Hong Kong Basic Law permits Hong Kong to conclude non-military bilateral agreements with foreign countries, while articles 152 permits Hong Kong joining international organisations.[3]

Both Hong Kong and Canada are full members of APEC and FATF, and are bilateral participants on air services/ air services transit agreement (since 1988), Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (since 2002), Surrender of Fugitive Offenders Agreements (since June 13, 1997). Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements between Canada and Hong Kong have been signed but not yet ratifiy.

Trade and investment[edit]

Canada's commercial interests in Hong Kong are extensive and range from banking, accounting, legal, engineering, information technology services and retail and general trading. In 2011, Canada exported C$3 billion in goods in Base metals, machinery and agrifood to Hong Kong, making Hong Kong the Canada's 10th largest export destination for goods, and probably higher in terms of services. Hong Kong companies have cumulative investments in Canada of $6 billion. In addition to having a strong domestic market, Hong Kong also remains an important door to the Greater China market. Hong Kong importers often take Canadian products into China. Sales in Hong Kong can also be used to showcase Canadian products and technologies to buyers in China. Hong Kong is a logical starting point for Canadian firms interested in getting a foothold in Asia. There are about 160 Canadian companies are based here, with a third of which, use Hong Kong as their regional headquarters.

Cultural[edit]

There are 500,000 people of Hong Kong descent in Canada, which encompasses around 216,000 people of Hong Kong born population now live in Canada, per 2006 Census in Canada. Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada gave a conservative estimate of over 295,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong, as of 2011,[4] while Hong Kong Census declared along with some , plays a dynamic role in building vibrant bilateral relations. Over 100,000 Canadian university alumni representing various active alumni associations in Hong Kong.

The Canadian Consulate-General represents the Canadian Federal Government in Hong Kong. Some Canadian provinces has trade or immigration offices in Hong Kong, including Alberta, British Columbia [5] and Quebec Québec Immigration Office in Hong Kong. In Canada, the Hong Kong SAR is represented through the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office based in Toronto, Ontario.[5]

Tourism[edit]

According to data from Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Canadian tourists in Hong Kong spent more than C$ 99 million in the year 2011.[6] On the other way 46,680 Canadian tourists visited Hong Kong making Canada the eighth highest source of tourists.

Hong Kong tourists arrival to Canada has an increase of 2.7%, year-to-date May 2013.

Both Canada and Hong Kong have offered "Working Holiday Programs" since March 2010. The programme allows 200 young students to holiday in Hong Kong or Canada and to take temporary employment as needed to cover the expenses of their visit. The programme aims to increase travel by young people between Canada and Hong Kong and to strengthen the links between the two regions.[7][8]

Participants receive the same treatment as Hong Kong permanent residents in all matters concerning the application of laws, regulations and practices regarding health and working conditions. This is a 12-month program – one of the longest offered by either government.

References[edit]

External links[edit]