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EU – Hong Kong Customs cooperation

The volume of trade between Hong Kong and the EU makes cooperation between their customs authorities very important to the facilitation of legitimate trade flows and the preservation of supply chain security. On 13 May 1999, the then European Community and  Hong Kong, China signed an Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters (CCMAA). See Official Journal L 151/21pdf of 18 June 1999 for the text of the agreement.

The CCMAA, which entered into force on the 1 June 1999, was the territory's first binding agreement on customs cooperation after the handover to the People's Republic of China in 1997.
What the CCMAA covers

  • It provides a legal framework to promote supply-chain security and trade facilitation
  • It also aims to improve the fight against fraud
  • Seeks to improve cooperation on the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR)

The Joint Customs Cooperation Committee (JCCC), meeting every two years since 2002, oversees the implementation of the CCMAA. Customs representatives and experts from the EU and Hong Kong discuss practical ways of working together to best implement the agreement.

EU-Hong Kong JCCC meetings

Latest (9th) JCCC – Hong Kong, 22 November 2012

Chaired by Antonis Kastrissianakis, Director, DG Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission and David T. W. Fong, Assistant-Commissioner, Hong Kong Customs.

Issues discussed

  • The EU shared experiences of its supply chain security policies, particularly the EU-China Smart and Secure Trade Lanes (SSTL) Pilot Project, which is being prepared for phase III of the project; further, its air cargo security action plan.
  • The Parties exchanged information on their respective authorised economic operator (AEO) programmes and Hong Kong explained its Intermodal Transhipment Facilitation Scheme.
  • The EU stressed the importance it places on IPR enforcement and international cooperation towards this end, updating Hong Kong on its IPR action plan with China. Hong Kong further briefed the EU on its own holistic IPR enforcement strategy and the mechanisms in place for sharing information with third parties.
  • The meeting included a site visit to Antwerp Port, allowing the delegations a valuable opportunity to see the practical experiences of private business and Belgium Customs in applying the SSTL pilot project to their customs procedures.

Latest (8th) JCCC – Hong Kong, 6 September 2010

Chaired by Richard M F Yuen, Commissioner of Hong Kong Customs, and Walter Deffaa, Director-General for Taxation and Customs Union at the European Commission.

Issues discussed

  • Supply chain security and trade facilitation – the EU delegation presented the EU's supply chain security policy. This included international matters, particularly the EU-China Smart and Secure Trade Lanes (SSTL) Pilot Project, the first phase of which had been successfully completed.
  • The Hong Kong delegation also explained their own supply chain security developments, in particular their implementation of an authorised economic operator (AEO) pilot project.
  • The EU promoted its efforts in the field of IPR enforcement, which included its IPR action plan with China. Hong Kong also presented their own actions, highlighting their establishment of a special IPR task force.  
  • The meeting included a site visit to the Kwai Chung Container Terminals, allowing the delegations a valuable opportunity to see customs procedures in action.

7th EU-Hong Kong JCCC – Brussels, 30 January 2008

Issues discussed

  • The EU delegation highlighted the growing importance of supply chain security in the global context and the need for international coordination of measures to strengthen it. It explained that it would be implementing pre-arrival and departure requirements from July 2009, presented the EU-China SSTL pilot project and reported on its AEO programme.
  • Hong Kong informed the meeting that it was developing a system for mandatory submission of electronic advance cargo information by 2010.
  • The EU delegation also highlighted concerns over the US initiative for 100% scanning of maritime cargo containers. The World Customs Organisation was noted to have adopted a joint resolution against the 100% scanning initiative.
  • The Hong Kong delegation explained their multi-pronged efforts on the protection of IPR. The EU delegation suggested that government administrations should work together to cut production and export of fakes.


  • The Hong Kong delegation also briefed the meeting on the opening of the Shenzhen Bay Port, which commenced operation on 1 July 2007. It was the first land boundary control point where customs facilities were co-located with those of Mainland China.

6th EU-Hong Kong JCCC – Hong Kong, 18 November 2005

Issues discussed

  • The EU delegation explained international trends in cigarette smuggling. Hong Kong's participation in 'Project Crocodile' – an Asian anti-smuggling cooperative project – was also discussed. 33 containers containing 278.4 million sticks of cigarettes had been seized since its implementation.
  • On IPR, Hong Kong Customs explained their 'holistic approach' to enforcement, which aims to tackle the issue from all angles. They also informed the meeting that the growing threat of internet piracy had led to the establishment of two Anti-Internet Piracy Teams (one in 1999 and one in 2005).
  • The EU delegation expressed their concern over counterfeit products and emphasised the importance of information exchanges. In addition they highlighted the action plan agreed at an earlier ASEM DG-Commissioners Meeting in 2005, which focussed on a joint approach to combating counterfeiting.


Developments in Hong Kong

The current Commissioner of Hong Kong Customs and Excise is Mr Clement Cheung. Mr Cheung was appointed in September 2011.

Free Trade Agreement with EFTA

Hong Kong signed a comprehensive free trade agreement with the four members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 2011, covering issues such as trade facilitation and IPR enforcement.


See also:
World Customs Organisation
Hong-Kong Customs
Security cooperation between EU and non-EU countries
European External Action Service - Hong Kong
DG Trade – Hong Kong statisticspdf
EU Commissioner Ĺ emeta's 2010 Hong Kong visit