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Bilateral Relations
Home ›  India - Hong Kong Relations  ›  Bilateral Relations

Background: India’s relations with Hong Kong are historical and date back to the 1840s. India and Hong Kong have been trading with each other since the middle of the 19th century; relations between the two people have been warm and cordial; and, Hong Kong has for long been home to a large Indian community, many of who arrived here more than a century and half ago. The Commission for India in Hong Kong was set up in 1951 and it was re-designated as Consulate General of India on 15 October 1996 in advance of China’s assumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997. The Consulate also has accreditation to Macau, which reverted from Portuguese to Chinese sovereignty on December 19, 1999.


Political: The recent years have seen relations between India and Hong Kong expand rapidly. There are around 1,500 Indian companies registered in Hong Kong, and their activities range from services, investment finance, banking, industries, transportation, information technology and telecommunications. Hong Kong is also host to a large number of Indian professionals in banking, IT and shipping. Ten 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. Foreign Direct Investment to India from Hong Kong has been increasing in recent years. Hong Kong is also a major sourcing centre for Indian companies and it has emerged as a major re-exporter to Mainland China of items it imports from India.


Against the background of fast evolving bilateral relationship, the Hon’ble Donald Tsang, the then Chief Executive of Hong Kong paid a visit to India in October 2010. This was the highest-level visit by a Hong Kong government official to India. The Chief Executive met senior government officials and interacted with top business leaders in India during his visit.


Bilateral Agreements: 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], Air Services Agreement (1996), Customs Cooperation Agreement (1997), Surrender of Fugitive Offenders (1997), and Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (2009). Text of an Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons was finalized in 2009. Certain amendments subsequently proposed by the HKSAR side have also been finalized. HKSAR side has conveyed its consent to sign the agreement and approval of concerned authorities in India is awaited. The text of a Comprehensive Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between India and Hong is in the last stages of deliberations before it is mutually agreed upon and the agreement will thereafter be signed on completion of the obligatory procedures by both the governments. Discussions are underway for concluding a Bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (BIPA). A proposal for an MOU for exchange of information pertaining to drug trafficking and drug abuse between the Narcotics Control Bureau of India and the Narcotics Bureau of Hong Kong is under consideration.


Bilateral Trade: India-Hong Kong bilateral trade for the year 2012 stood at US$ 20,386 million representing decrease of 11.7% compared to 2011.. Exports from India to Hong Kong during this period were worth US$ 10,491 million, a decrease of 5.5%. Of this,goods worth US$ 9780 million were re-exported to other countries from Hong Kong. Imports from Hong Kong to India totalled US$ 9,895 million (17.5% decline). The balance of trade for the year 2012 was in India’s favour to the extent of US$ 596 million. India’s share in Hong Kong’s total trade during the year 2012 was 2.16%.


Bilateral trade for the period January to September 2013 stood at US $ 16,878 million showing a decrease of 6.9% compared to the same period in 2012. Exports from India to Hong Kong during this period were worth US $ 8,791 million, an increase of 7.6%. due to increase in exports of natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals and leather. Imports from Hong Kong to India totaled US $ 8,087 million recording an increase of 6.1% due to increase in imports of natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals and electrical machinery.


During the period January to September 2012, India continued to retain its position as the 7th largest trading partner of Hong Kong and India’s share in Hong Kong’s total trade during this period was 2.3%. The balance of trade during this period was in India’s favour amounting to US$ 704 million.


Indian exports to Hong Kong primarily include pearls, precious & semi-precious stones, leather, electrical machinery, cotton, mineral fuels, fish & crustaceans, machinery, articles of apparel, organic chemicals and plastics 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, miscellaneous manufactured articles.


India - Hong Kong Trade: Table

[Amount in US $ million]




Jan-Sept 2013



Growth %


Growth %



India to Hong Kong







Hong Kong to India


Domestic Exports







Re- Exports







Total Exports to India







Total Bilateral Trade







Trade Balance
( for India)







(Source: Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong)

Indian Community: Indian traders and defence personnel were with the British when they occupied Hong Kong in 1841. Indians in Hong Kong have traditionally been drawn from the trading community, with strong cultural and social links to India. The Indian community has actively contributed to Hong Kong’s emergence as a hub of global finance and trade. Members of the Indian community helped establish well known institutions in Hong Kong, like the Hong Kong University, the Ruttonji Hospital and the Star Ferry. 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 more than 45,000 and approximately half of them hold Indian passports. Sindhis, Gujaratis and Punjabis (Sikh) form the largest component of the community.

India-Macau Bilateral Relations

The mainstay of Macau’s economy is tourism and gambling industry. Tourist arrivals in Macau in 2012 were 28 million. Macau has become a major tourist destination for Indians and the number of Indians who visited Macau in 2012 was 1,51,000. There is a small Indian community in Macau, majority of whom are of Goan origin. Some are professionals, a few of them work in Government Departments and a number of them work in hotels and restaurants and in the gaming industry.


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.


Bilateral trade with Macau is negligible and in 2012 it was worth a miniscule US$ 7.521 million, of which India’s exports to Macau were valued at US$ 7.15 million and Macau’s exports to India were valued at US$ 372,000. Major products of export from India are sheath contraceptives, articles of apparel of leather or composition of leather, fish heads, black tea and medicaments.


India – Macau bilateral trade

[Amount in US$ Million]



Jan- Sep 2013



Growth %


Growth %

Indian Exports to Macau





Macau Exports to India





Total Bilateral Trade





(Source: Census and Statistics Department, Macau Government)

December 2013

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