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Integration under 'One Country, Two Systems' - The Case of Mainland China and Hong Kong-

Discussion Papers

No.070

August 2006

ABSTRACT

Ever since the handover of the territory in 1997, Hong Kong has had its own unique law and itsown economic system and international legal personality, and has not been integrated withMainland China. The Basic Law guarantees the uniqueness of the Hong Kong SAR until 2047. But close economic ties between Hong Kong and the Mainland will promote closer economic integration. The Basic Law limits only a customs union and the introduction of a single currency, but not the formation of a Free Trade Agreement (hereafter FTA) and monetary union. FTA has already been realized in the form of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (hereafter CEPA). The Hong Kong SAR government, including the bureaucrat as well as the Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa, was opposed to, and hesitant towards, the formation of a regional trade agreement with the Mainland, but the business community made them to adopt a positive attitude towards the CEPA. It is unclear how much integration can been deepened, but it can be argued that the current policy of the Hong Kong SAR is too supportive of business, and an excessive degree of economic integration may threaten the uniqueness of Hong Kong. But if Hong Kong achieves democracy and enjoys complete autonomy, it will be easy for economic integration to co-exist with the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ approach, in the interests of the business community and of the citizens of the SAR.

Keywords: Hong Kong, China, integration, politic, FTA
JEL classification: F15, H77, K00, N45, P16

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