Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR)

The EU's policy towards the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) was first set out in 1997 in a Communication: The European Union and Hong Kong Beyond 1997 issued in the context of the handover to Chinese sovereignty. It underlined the importance of smooth implementation of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle. This communication was followed by the 2006 communication "The European Union, Hong Kong and Macao: possibilities for cooperation 2007-2013" and set out ways in which the EU could contribute to Hong Kong’s political and economic development.

The European Commission and European External action service issue a joint annual report on political and economic developments in the Hong Kong SAR. The latest report was issued in April 2015.

The EU and Hong Kong hold annual Structured Dialogue meetings (the latest took place on 26  November, 2015 in Hong Kong, see : Press release pdf - 194 KB [194 KB] ) to take stock of ongoing cooperation and explore potential new areas of work.

Bilateral relations between the EU and Hong Kong continue to deepen and encompass areas such as financial services, customs, the environment, research, education and culture. Hong Kong is an important player in the region and a key conduit for two-way trade and investment flows between the EU and mainland China. The EU is Hong Kong's second largest trading partner after mainland China, enjoying a growing trade surplus. Investment relations between the EU and Hong Kong have strengthened significantly in recent years. Given its status as a separate customs territory, as stated in China’s Basic Law, Hong Kong continues to be treated by the EU as a separate entity for trade policy purposes.

The EU attaches great importance to Hong Kong's stability, economic prosperity, rule of law and democratic development. It believes that an accountable government contributes to stability and prosperity and helps maintain Hong Kong's position as a major international business center.

The EU supports the introduction of universal suffrage by 2017 for the election of the Chief Executive and by 2020 for the election of the Legislative Council, in accordance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR and the wishes of the people of Hong Kong. It closely monitors democratic developments related to the introduction of universal suffrage (Statement by the Spokesperson on the introduction of universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive in Hong Kong in 2017 dated 18/07/2014 ) and has expressed its view that the election framework adopted will allow a high degree of political participation for Hong Kong's people.

Contacts take place at all levels, including exchanges between the European Parliament and Hong Kong's Legislative Council. President Barroso and President Van Rompuy both held meetings with Hong Kong's Chief Executive C.Y. Leung in Brussels on 15 May, 2015.