The parties recognize that economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent and stress that their closer economic partnership can play an important role in promoting sustainable development. In Chapter 8, the EFTA states and Hong Kong, China, reaffirm their commitment to multilateral environmental agreements and principles and commit to a level of protection, while recognizing the right of each party to set its own level of environmental protection. The annual structured dialogue meetings between the European Commission and hong Kong government authorities allow the EU to exchange information with the Hong Kong authorities on a wide range of key bilateral trade issues. In 2011, Hong Kong signed a comprehensive free trade agreement with the four members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) covering issues such as trade facilitation and IPR implementation. EFTA  has bilateral agreements with the following countries – including dependent territories – and blocs: it is a list of free trade agreements between two parties in which each party could be a country (or another customs territory), a trading bloc or an informal group of countries. Josep Borrell, the EU`s foreign policy chief, said he was “deeply concerned” by Thursday`s step. He has previously stressed that Brussels “attaches great importance to maintaining Hong Kong`s high degree of autonomy,” but said this week that he did not believe that “sanctions against China will be a solution to our problems.” Merkel also said the EU, the world`s largest trading bloc, must maintain a “critical and constructive” dialogue. The European Union is Hong Kong`s second largest trading partner after China, while Germany is by far the city`s largest European trading partner, with bilateral trade of around 13.97 billion euros ($15.3 billion) in 2019. Chapter 3 on trade in services covers the four services in the sense of the GATS and covers all service sectors. Separate annexes for financial services (Annex VIII) and telecommunications services (Annex IX) complete the chapter.
Appendix VII obliges Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Hong Kong, China to negotiate disciplines on national regulations. The parties` commitments in the various sectors are envisaged in a negative approach in which the contracting parties individually state their reservations regarding market access, application or commitments of the MFN (Annex X). The final point is that the Commission is showing a realistic assessment of the benefits and limitations of free trade agreements when it asks the following question: “The central question of this study is: are trade agreements trade or is the EU just making trade-and-trade agreements anyway?” Chapter 4 on investment aims to improve the legal environment for investors in EFTA and Hong Kong countries, with China investing in the other country`s territories that are not covered by Chapter 3 (trade in services). In Appendix XI, the contracting parties express their reservations about national treatment in country lists, based on restrictions under their national legislation. She acknowledged that the EU had deep differences with China on the rule of law, freedom, democracy and human rights, but that it wanted to take a different approach from the conflict between Washington and Beijing. For EFTA-Hong Kong trade statistics, China, see THE EFTA Trade Statistics Tool Note: Any customs union, common market, economic union, customs and monetary union and Economic and Monetary Union is also a free trade area. The agreement contains provisions for trade facilitation (Annex V).