Trading and Logistics Industry
95. Expanding our Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) networks would help Hong Kong businesses and investors open up new markets, protect their overseas investments and attract foreign investors to Hong Kong. In addition to signing the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangements (CEPA) with the Mainland and Macao, we have forged four FTAs and 20 IPPAs with other economies. The signing of Comprehensive Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (CDTAs) not only will benefit our businessmen, but will also attract more enterprises to use Hong Kong as their base for overseas investments. The Government has so far concluded CDTAs with 38 tax jurisdictions.
96. We will actively seek to sign FTAs, IPPAs and CDTAs with other economies, including those along the Belt and Road, to fortify our position as an international trade and investment hub.
97. As a "facilitator" and a "promoter" for economic development, the Government will be more proactive in strengthening and consolidating Hong Kong's edge as a trading and logistics hub. The Government will actively enhance the supporting infrastructure to increase the handling capacity of both air and maritime cargo, with a view to moving the trading and logistics industry up the value chain.
98. On air transport, the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has been the world's busiest cargo airport for seven years in a row. The cargo it handled accounted for about 1.6 per cent of total cargo volume by weight, but 40 per cent of imports and exports by value.
99. Situated at the heart of Asia, the HKIA boasts a vast global network. This, together with its proximity to the Pearl River Delta and the Bay Area as well as the imminent commissioning of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), promises ample opportunities for our air cargo industry. The booming of global e-commerce has generated demands for cross-border logistics and delivery services, particularly air delivery and transhipment services. In December 2017, the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) made available a site of around 5.3 hectares at the South Cargo Precinct of the Airport Island to develop a modern air cargo logistics centre.
100. We are actively considering the redevelopment of the Air Mail Centre at the HKIA, which has been operating for 20 years. The Centre will be equipped with modern facilities to significantly enhance its efficiency and capacity. For fiscal planning, I have set aside $5 billion for the project. In addition, we are engaging with the AA and other postal authorities to explore collaboration with a view to maximising the use of the centre's transit handling capability to foster cross-border logistics and trading activities.
101. Our strategic objective is to develop Hong Kong into a trading, storage, logistics and distribution hub for high-value goods such as pharmaceuticals. Between 2014 and 2016, pharmaceuticals handled by the HKIA grew by over 30 per cent. The AA and the industry will continue to proactively enhance the HKIA's capacity to handle high-value temperature-controlled goods and adopt the necessary temperature control facilities to cater for the special needs in handling such goods.
102. Hong Kong is a free port. As we upgrade our facilities, we will also move ahead with times and review existing measures timely with a view to facilitating the trade and attaining the greatest economic benefits. At present, trade declaration is not required for transhipment cargo via Hong Kong, and the level of declaration charges for imports and exports are kept at a low level. To encourage the trading and logistics industry to move up the value chain, the Government will cap the charge for each declaration at $200, so as to further lower the cost of importing and exporting high-value goods to and from Hong Kong, and enhance Hong Kong's advantage as a trading hub. The measure is expected to save the trade $458 million per year and benefit about 900 000 cases.
103. The Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board was established in 2016 to foster the development of our maritime and port sectors and high-value-added maritime services. The Transport and Housing Bureau is now working with the sector to map out strategies and explore measures that will facilitate the development of the maritime industry in Hong Kong. The Government will continue to devote resources to promote our maritime industry. Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) will also set up a dedicated team to strengthen promotion to attract more renowned maritime enterprises to operate in Hong Kong.