26 Furthermore, the authorisation granted to Hong Kong operators to open shops in Guangdong Province in its own name and without access conditions has already led to the opening of 400 points of sale. 27In addition to possible complementary measures to facilitate the movement of persons and capital between China and Hong Kong, they have been taken in recent months and are part of the spirit, if not the text of the agreement. Among the most important are the relaxation of exchange controls (the raising of foreign exchange exit limits for Chinese tourists travelling to Hong Kong, the possibility for Hong Kong banks to offer renminbi services) and the mutual recognition of qualifications and/or the establishment of professional examinations (for architects, site managers, civil and civil engineers, insurance agents, intellectual property advisors, etc.). This preferential treatment allows Hong Kong to position itself not only as a market for China`s external financing, but as a market for managing Chinese savings invested abroad. The mutual recognition of qualifications is a necessary condition for the effectiveness of the second phase of CEPA. In addition, the Hong Kong authorities are focusing their efforts on these two areas by negotiating an extension of mutual recognition, particularly in the fields of medicine, justice and accounting, as well as a relaxation of exchange controls for the investment of Chinese portfolios invested or managed in Hong Kong. Hong Kong> Hong Kong is a founding member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Despite mainland China`s accession to the WTO, Hong Kong is well positioned to play a key role for U.S. companies looking to increase exports to China, one of the world`s fastest-growing markets. Hong Kong is a trade node for mainland China and the region; Its commercial enterprises are experts in promoting products and services imported into mainland China. Similarities in linguistic and cultural traditions have allowed Hong Kong traders to maximize opportunities for U.S. businesses, and especially for small and medium-sized enterprises and early exporters.
Hong Kong has a free trade agreement with mainland China, the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), which provides for duty-free export from Hong Kong to mainland China and preferential access to certain services sectors. CEPA was signed in 2003 and has been gradually expanded each year. Under CEPA, Hong Kong benefits from liberalized trade in services using a “negative list” covering 134 services sectors for Hong Kong and dealing seamlessly with Hong Kong`s 62 service sectors. Hong Kong also benefits from the most-favoured-nation, with liberalization measures contained in free trade agreements signed by mainland China and other countries being automatically extended to Hong Kong. In June 2017, Hong Kong and mainland China signed an investment agreement and an economic and technical cooperation agreement. The Investment Agreement, which will enter into force from January 2018, includes the provision of investment investments in favour of investment and non-services using a negative list approach. . . .