July 29, 2008 / 8:34 AM / in 11 years

Hong Kong, China expand free-trade agreement

HONG KONG, July 29 (Reuters) - Hong Kong expanded a free-trade deal with mainland China on Tuesday in an agreement that includes giving mining and exploration companies and related services easier access to the Chinese market.

The trade agreement, or Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which was first signed in 2003, generated HK$5.1 billion ($654 million) in capital investment for the city and created 36,000 jobs in the former British colony from 2004 to 2006, Chief Executive Donald Tsang said on Tuesday.

With the addition of mining and exploration services, 40 sectors are now covered by the agreement, which has prompted more foreign companies to establish a Hong Kong affiliate to take advantage of better access to the China market.

The supplementary CEPA agreement signed between Hong Kong and China on Tuesday also includes further liberalisation for Hong Kong-based accounting, architectural, medical and human resources companies among others. (US$1=HK$7.8) (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by John Ruwitch)

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