Hong Kong

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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

Despite the retrocession of Hong-Kong to China on July 1st, 1997, the Special Administrative Region of Hong-Kong ( HKSAR) maintained its customs regulations. Therefore, the territory of Hong-Kong maintains its status of free harbour and remains separate from China's customs territory, preserving its participation in international organisations and international trade agreements.
Import licenses are required for the following products:
- Certain chemicals such as those defined in the Control of Chemicals Ordinance. The license application should be made with the Controlled Chemicals section of the Customs and Excise Department.
- Pharmaceutical products: licence should be applied for at the Trade licensing Branch Non-Textiles Licensing Section of the Trade Department.
- Living animals: a preliminary licence should be applied for at the Licensing Unit of agriculture, Fisheries and conservation Department.
- Plants are also subject to a licence issued by the Plant and pesticides Regulatory Division of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
- Textiles: if they are not registered with the Textile Traders Registration Scheme, importers should apply for a licence with the Non-Restrained Textiles, Trade Department.
- " Reserved Commodities " (rice, frozen meat, frozen poultry): import licences issued by the Reserved Commodities Unit of Trade Department, are given only to companies registered with the Trade Department. Moreover, the imported goods should be accompanied with a sanitary certificate issued by the country of origin.
- Meat and poultry: import has to be authorised by the Hygiene Section of the Department of Health.
- Radio equipment is also subject to the control of the Inspection and Licensing Subsection of the Office of the Telecommunications Authority.
- Import of vehicles.
- Alcohol drinks.
- Tobacco.
- Oil productions.
Licenses for these 4 categories are issued by the Customs and Excise Department.


Customs duties
Hong-Kong applies the Harmonised Custom Systems. The imports are managed by Customs and Excise Department. Due to its status of Free harbour, Hong-Kong does not impose customs duties on the entry of the general goods on its territory.


Import taxes
Hong-Kong levies a tax on the declaration of import of 0.025% on the CIF value of the goods.



The Business to Business (B to B) market
To work with an agent or an importer is advisable when the exporter does not fully know the local environment. The foreign exporter should expect to find in Hong-Kong a highly competitive market with the presence of very active European, Asian and American companies. The Hong-Kong business world is open minded about new ideas but the success in this market mainly depends on the quality of efficiently made products and having competitive prices. It is strongly recommended to be present on Trade shows and fairs which are held regularly in Hong-Kong.


Transportation of goods

By road
The road network is 1,840 km long. The programme of development of the network contributed to the increase in the use of individual cars resulting in traffic problems. As for the railway network, a wide range of development projects are currently in progress.
The Highways Department has therefore budgeted the construction of a highway establishing a direct ground connection between the islands of Hong-Kong and China, crossing the North of the island of Lantau and Yuen Long in the New Territories and a motorway (7 km of 2x2 ways) connecting Tsing Yi Northeast to Cheung Sha Wan and Sha Tin.

By rail
The network is currently 150 km long. A big project: "Hong Kong moving ahead", which began under the supervision of the Transport Bureau targets to create 6 new railways by 2016. The future railway projects will connect the Western and Eastern parts of the territory.

By sea
The Hong-Kong harbour is probably the largest world port of containers: only during the year 2000 about 16.5 million TEU (Twenty feet Equivalent Unites) were handled. The strategic position turns it in an access door to the Chinese market as well as an unavoidable transit place for international exchanges. The present shipowners in Hong-Kong control, alone, 6% of the world fleet.

By air
With more than 2 million tons of freight handled in 2000 (increasing by 13% as compared to 1999), the new Hong Kong / Chek Lap Kok airport was inaugurated in 1998 and is ranked 2nd in the world ; it is a real transit platform for the Asian continent. Today, at least 65 airline companies fly towards and from Hong-Kong international airport which amounts to about 3,200 flights a week. The national companies Cathay Pacific (with its Air Hong-Kong subsidiary) for international destinations, and Dragon Air for regional flights, ensure a quality service and an excellent coverage.


The Information Desk on the Normalisation of Products is dependant on the Department of Industry which covers and offers information to manufacturers concerning national and international standards. The System of Laboratories Accredited by Hong-Kong ( HOKLAS), depends also on the Department of Industry. They provide technical information on toys, textile, electronic and electric products, foodstuffs, building materials, etc.
The commonly used standards are ISO 9000 standards, especially for engineering and building sectors. Hong-Kong adheres to the Standards Code with the WTO. {ISO 9000}"

Patents and brands

The Department of Intellectual property is responsible for the management of patents and trademarks in Hong-Kong.
Hong-Kong signed the agreement of Paris for the protection of industrial property, the agreement of Bern for copyrights and protection of artistic works, the agreement of Geneva for the protection of phonographic works, as well as the Patents Co-operation Treaty (PCT) and the agreement establishing the World Intellectual property Organization (WIPO).


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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