About Us India-Hong Kong Bilateral Relations

India - Hong Kong SAR Bilateral Relations

Background

India’s relations with Hong Kong are historical and date back to the 1840s when Hong Kong became a British colony after the Treaty of Nanking as the result of the First Opium War. From trading ties established in the middle of the 19th century (1840 onwards), relations today span sectors such as investment finance, services, maritime, shipping, logistics, culture, education and trade.

Political Relations and recent visits

  1. The Commission for India, set up in 1951, was re-designated as Consulate General of India on October 15, 1996, in advance of China’s assumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong, which took place on July 1, 1997. The Consulate also has accreditation to Macau, which reverted from Portuguese rule to China on December 19, 1999.

  1. Recent years have witnessed keen interest in Hong Kong in India’s economic growth and its status as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Expectations here are that with deepening of economic reforms in India in the coming years, India-Hong Kong relations should deepen and trade and economic ties should expand.

  1. Donald Tsang, the then Chief Executive of Hong Kong along with the Governor of Guangdong province led a business delegation on a visit to India in October 2010. The visit was more in nature of a business visit, while he met Governor of Maharashtra, MOS(PK) for External Affairs & Finance Minister during his visit.

  1. In order to increase the level of economic engagement between India and Hong Kong and provide boost to the business, investment and people-to-people links, Chief Executive (CE) of Hong Kong, CY Leung paid an official visit to India from February 2-5, 2016 at the invitation of Chief Minister of Maharashtra. It was the first official visit to India of a Hong Kong Chief Executive. He led a 40 strong multi-sectoral business delegation, the largest one accompanying Chief Executive amongst his recent official overseas visits. During his visit, CE called on Hon’ble Prime Minister, Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister. He also addressed the business events organised by Indian and Hong Kong Chambers of Commerce.

  1. Hong Kong has always acted as a “Gateway to China” for the companies in rest of the world. With the rapid growth in engagement between the Chinese and Indian economies, Hong Kong presents a great opportunity to act as a “Gateway to India” for the mainland companies and become an important stakeholder and a beneficiary of this huge opportunity. In this regard, Central Government and State governments have shown lot of interest in Hong Kong.

  1. Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley visited Hong Kong on September 19-21, 2015. During the visit, he called on Chief Executive of Hong Kong and also addressed the investors at the India Capital Markets and Institutional Investors Summit. Chief Minister of Telangana Shri K. Chandrashekhar Rao led a high level delegation to Hong Kong on September 14-16, 2015. He also outlined the State’s path breaking new industrial policy and its novel TS-IPASS (Telangana State Industrial Project Approval and Self-certification System). Chief Minister of Gujarat Smt. Anandiben Patel, visited Hong Kong from May 19-20, 2015. Three Memorandums of Understanding were signed by Gujarat Government in solar energy, housing and infrastructure sector. Minister for Housing of Andhra Pradesh, Smt. K. Mrunalini, visited Hong Kong on September 28-29, 2015 and called on Anthony Cheung, Secretary for Housing and Transport of HKSAR, to discuss the best practices in public housing in Hong Kong.

  1. In November 2016, a business delegation from Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) led by its President Dr. Naushad Forbes visited Hong Kong. This was a return visit to that of the business delegation which had accompanied Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung (CE) during his visit to India in February this year. CE met with delegation to exchange views on strengthening business and commercial ties between India and Hong Kong.

  1. An official delegation led by Chief Minister of the Haryana Shri Manohar Lal Khattar visited Hong Kong from 23-25 May 2017. A roadshow was co-organized by the Consulate General of India and the Government of Haryana on ‘Investment Opportunities for Hong Kong Companies in State of Haryana’ on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

  1. Secretary (CPV & OIA) Shri Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay, accompanied by Joint Secretary (OIA-II) Smt. Vani S. Rao visited Hong Kong on June 12 – 13, 2017 for the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI) Community Outreach Event. This was the first time that any such event was being organized by the Ministry of External Affairs for outreaching to the Indian Diaspora to mobilize funds for the IDF-OI. During his visit, he had official meetings with Acting Commissioner of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in HKSAR Ms. Tong Xiaoling and Secretary for Security of Government of HKSAR Mr. T.K. Lai.

  1. A High-level Parliamentary Delegation from Maharashtra Legislature led by Chairman, Maharashtra Legislative Council and Speaker, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly conducted a study visit to Hong Kong on January 23, 2017. The delegation met with President of Hong Kong Legislative Council Mr. Andrew Leung and expressed interest in signing an MoU between the two legislatures.

  1. Participating in the Hong Kong Food Expo for the first time, a delegation led by Shri Parag Gupta, Joint Secretary (JS), Ministry of Food Processing Industries and consisting of ITP officials & a team of 40 exporter companies visited Hong Kong from August 17-21, 2017. JS also made a courtesy call on Mr. Ken Saito, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries of Japan.

  1. A delegation led by Prof. David R Syiemlieh, Chairman, Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) visited Hong Kong on October 23, 2017. Chairman met with Hong Kong PSC Chairman Mrs. Rita Lau and discussed upcoming trends in the functioning of the commission.


  1. A 3-member delegation led by Shri Akhil Agrawal, DG, Ministry of Railways visited Hong Kong during 19-20 April, 2018 and held discussions with Hong Kong MTR authorities to explore opportunities for further collaboration.

  1. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong in his Annual Policy address held on January 18, 2017 announced its decision to open Economic and Trade Office (ETO) in India.

  1. With effect from January 23, 2017, Hong Kong government has made Pre-Arrival Registration a compulsory requirement for all Indian nationals who intend to visit Hong Kong visa-free for 14 days.

  1. Indian Coast Guard Ship ICGS Shaurya arrived in Hong Kong from Dec 20-23, 2017.

Bilateral Agreements

  1. Agreements concluded with Hong Kong include:

  • Agreement on Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgements (1968), [which was re-notified by Government of India in July 2012 due to a change in the nomenclature of Hong Kong courts following handover of sovereignty to China in 1997],

  • Agreement Constituted by Exchange of Letters Between the PRC and India on matters related to the Consular Convention (December 1991),

  • Air Services Agreement (1996), and an MoU on Air Services Agreements pursuant to the Air Services Agreement (February 2012),

  • Customs Cooperation Agreement (1997),

  • Surrender of Fugitive Offenders (1997), and

  • Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (September 2009).

  • Agreement for Mutual Recognition Arrangement in respect of Authorized Economic Operation (AEO) programs between Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) of Government of India and the Customs and Excise Department of the HKSAR Government (November 2013).

  1. Following MoUs have been signed between India and Hong Kong:

  • MoU between Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and Reserve bank of India (RBI) on Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Information signed on July 17, 2014.

  • Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons was signed on January 20, 2015 and has since come into effect.

  • India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) Chairman visited Hong Kong on 04 October 2016 and signed an MoU with Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to strengthen the economic partnership and increase bilateral commerce between India and Hong Kong, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.

  1. India and Hong Kong signed Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) on 19th March 2018. This Agreement will stimulate flow of investment, technology and personnel from India to HKSAR & vice versa, prevent double taxation and provide for exchange of information between both the sides. It will improve transparency in tax matters and will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance. The Agreement has also been the long pending demand of Indian community in Hong Kong.

Commercial relations

  1. Recent years have seen relations between India and Hong Kong expand rapidly. Hong Kong companies also have been increasingly looking at India as an investment destination. Many Hong Kong companies have huge presence in India. This includes China Light and Power (CLP), Li & Fung, Jardines, Shangri La and Kerry Logistics to name a few.


  1. Hong Kong is host to a large number of Indian professionals in banking, IT and shipping. Eleven public sector banks and three private sector banks from India are currently operating in Hong Kong. Numerous global financial majors, investment institutions and fund managers operating in India have their regional headquarters in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also a major sourcing centre for Indian companies. It has emerged as a major re-exporter of items it imports from India to Mainland China. The regional office of Air India is located in Hong Kong.

  1. Hong Kong occupied 12th position in FDI equity inflows into India with cumulative FDI amount of US $ 2.286 billion (April 2000 to December 2017). Hong Kong is major hub for exhibitions and conferences. Trade fairs in Hong Kong are an important opportunity as they provide a platform for the buyers and sellers across the globe to come together and interact. Annually, more than 60 fairs are held in Hong Kong. India also participates in many of these exhibitions to promote its strengths, mainly through export promotion councils and sectoral promotion boards. Hong Kong Trade and Development Council (HKTDC) had made India as its focus point for promoting business and trade linkages, and conducts regular field trips to various parts of India.

Bilateral Trade

  1. India was Hong Kong’s 3rd largest export market destination (after China, US) in 2017 (Jan-Dec) and Hong Kong was India’s 3rd largest export market (after US, UAE) (April-Nov 2017). India-Hong Kong trade in 2017 was US$ 34.11 billion (growth of 27.0%). Exports from India to Hong Kong were worth US$ 13.77 billion, an increase of 15.8%. About 90% of our exports are gems and jewellery related. (Value additions in India, since 56 % of imports are also from this sector). Our imports from Hong Kong also increased by 35.9% to US$ 20.34 billion, the balance of trade during this period was in Hong Kong’s favor amounting to US$ 5557 million. During 2017, India continued to retain its position as the 7th largest trading partner of Hong Kong

  1. Indian exports to Hong Kong primarily include Pearls, precious & semi-precious stones, mineral fuels, Electrical Machinery, Leather, Iron & Steel, Fish & crustaceans, Cotton, Organic Chemicals, Machinery and Articles of apparel while Indian imports from Hong Kong include Pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, Electrical machinery, Machinery, Optical & medical instruments, Clocks & watches, Plastic and articles thereof, special woven fabrics, Miscellaneous manufactured articles, edible fruits & nuts and paper.



India - Hong Kong Trade

[Amount in US $ million]

2014

2015

2016


2017


Exports/

Imports

Total

Growth %

Total

Growth %

Total

Growth %

Total

Growth %

Indian Exports to Hong Kong

12,319

+10.0%

10,630

-13.7%

11,894

+11.9%

13,771

+15.8%

Indian Imports from Hong Kong

12,080

+13.1%

13,055

+8.1%

14,962

+14.6%

20,338

+35.9%

Total Bilateral Trade

24,399

+11.5%

23,685

-2.9%

26,856

+13.4%

34,109

+27.0%

Trade Balance

(for India)

239


-2,425


-3,068


-5,557


(Source: Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong)

Trade and Investments

  1. Hong Kong occupies the 12th position in FDI equity inflows into India with cumulative FDI amount of US $ 3.038 billion (April 2000 to December 2017) with close to 1 billion investments in 2017. The main reasons are the strict regulations in India regarding Chinese FDI, which includes FDI from Hong Kong into India and absence of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Hong Kong. ??

  1. Start-ups is emerging as an important sector of collaboration between India and Hong Kong. Keeping this is view, Consulate General of India Hong Kong in association with Asia Society Hong Kong Center conducted a two-day startup event on November 21-22, 2017. The event included two panel discussions on India and Hong Kong’s startups scenario and two workshops on the startup cultures of India and Hong Kong, their challenges and the opportunities in the coming times. Given the positive feedback received, we shall continue to promote collaboration in the future and are looking at hosting an event on similar lines in 2018-19.

  1. Hong Kong is major hub for exhibitions, conferences and trade fairs in Hong Kong are an important event as they provide important platform for the buyers and sellers across the globe to come together and interact. Annually, more than 60 fairs are held in Hong Kong. India also participates in many of these exhibitions to promote its strengths, mainly through export promotion councils, sectoral promotion boards or at the consulate level.

Academic Collaboration

  1. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Council for Cultural relations (ICCR) and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) on “Establishment of the ICCR visiting professorship of Indian studies” was signed in September 2015.

  1. Recent years have witnessed an increase in the number of Indian students in Hong Kong universities. The trend is likely to increase due to a host of factors including competitive fee structure, high ratings among world institutes etc.

  1. City University of Hong Kong has MoU with IIT Delhi for student exchange.

Tourism and Air links

  1. Hong Kong is a major tourist destination for Indians. With more than half million Indian tourists visiting Hong Kong every year, the Hong Kong- India tourism has been steadily rising. The launch of e-TV scheme for HKSAR passport holders on July 30, 2015 as part of the “Visit India Year” has been a significant milestone in our quest to achieve greater tourist flows to India.

  1. Direct air links between India and Hong Kong are through Air India, Jet Airways and Cathay Pacific which connect 6 cities in India, namely- New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata. In all, there are 69 direct flights being operated between India and Hong Kong every week.

Cultural relations

  1. The International Day of Yoga is celebrated in Hong Kong every year since its inception. The event is well-attended, including by members of Consular Corps, Indian Diaspora, expatriates and locals. About 20 yoga institutes in Hong Kong and 5 Indian restaurants of Hong Kong supported the event.

  1. Indian artists here participate every year in the Asia Ethnic Cultural Festival organised in Hong Kong. Festival of Indian Art & Culture named ‘India By the Bay’ is organized every year in Hong Kong in February in collaboration with the Asia Society Hong Kong Center. The fourth edition of India by the Bay was organized recently from February 2-9, 2018.

Indian Community in Hong Kong

  1. Hong Kong has for more than 150 years been home to a large Indian community and its contribution to Hong Kong’s emergence as a hub of global finance and trade is well known. Due to their long presence, Indians have been able to integrate themselves into the mainstream Hong Kong society. The Indian community is equally proud of its dual heritage and of their relations with both India and Hong Kong. Members of the Indian community established well known institutions in Hong Kong such as the Hong Kong University, the Ruttonjee Hospital and the famous Star Ferry.

  1. Increasingly, a large number of Indian professionals are coming into Hong Kong, working in the service industry, banking and finance, information technology, shipping, etc. The Indian community in Hong Kong is estimated to be nearly 37000 (including Indian nationals and People of Indian origin) and approximately 29000 hold Indian passports. Sindhis, Gujaratis and Punjabis (Sikh) form the largest component of the community. There are more than 20 Indian associations present in Hong Kong that are run by diaspora/ people of Indian origin.

  1. So far, four Hong Kong based persons of Indian origin have been awarded the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award: Dr. Hari Harilela (2003), Mr. M. Arunachalam (2005), Mr Rusy M Shroff (2006) and Mr. Harindarpal Singh Banga (2011).

India- Macau SAR Bilateral Relations

  1. The mainstay of Macau’s economy is tourism and gambling industry. Macau has become a major tourist destination for Indians (India is amongst the top ten source of tourism to Macau) and the number of Indians who visited Macau last year was approx. 1,65,000. There is a small Indian community in Macau, majority of who are of Goan origin. These include professionals, people in Government Departments and those working in hotels and restaurants and in the gaming industry.

  1. India has signed two bilateral agreements with Macau. These are the Air Services Agreement signed in February 1998 and the Agreement for the Exchange of Information with Respect to Taxes signed in January 2012.

  1. The total trade was worth US$ 14.87 million in 2016, wherein India’s exports to Macau were valued at US$ 10.61 million and Macau’s exports to India were valued at US$ 4.26 million. Major products of export from India are articles of apparel, pharmaceutical products, articles of leather, rubber & articles thereof and Coffee, tea, maté and spices.

Useful Resources:

April 2018