HK legal system promoted in Geneva

March 9, 2023

Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, on the third stop of his Europe visit, to strengthen co-operation between the Department of Justice and international organisations, and promote Hong Kong’s legal system.


Mr Cheung first visited the Advisory Centre on World Trade Organization Law where he met its Executive Director Niall Meagher and senior management to exchange views on enhancing co-operation.


He then attended a reception hosted by the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in Geneva for a dialogue with representatives to the World Trade Organization (WTO) from different countries and economies as well as business and industry leaders in Europe, with a focus on how Hong Kong leverages its strengths to contribute to the rules-based multilateral trading system.


Addressing the reception, Mr Cheung stressed that Hong Kong, China has always been a staunch supporter of the rules-based international trading system. He also noted that the city has participated in a number of disputes brought by different WTO members, which has helped clarify important legal principles of WTO law and enhance members’ understanding of international trade law.


Mr Cheung also pointed out that in the case brought by Hong Kong, China against the US in relation to the origin marking requirement imposed on Hong Kong products, the panel established under the WTO Dispute Settlement Body has ruled that such a requirement is inconsistent with the most-favoured-nation treatment requirement under the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade 1994. The panel also completely refuted the US’ invocation of a security exception.


This ruling has fully affirmed the status of Hong Kong, China as a separate customs territory within the WTO, he added.


Given that Hong Kong’s investment and business environment has become stable and more vibrant following the implementation of the National Security Law, Mr Cheung encouraged enterprises and organisations to set up offices in Hong Kong to take full advantage of the unique strengths and opportunities offered by Hong Kong as the only common law jurisdiction within China under “one country, two systems”.


After the reception, Mr Cheung called on Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary & Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the WTO Li Chenggang, and said that Hong Kong would proactively create strong impetus for the overseas development of its diversified legal and dispute resolution services, consolidating the city’s status as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region.


Mr Cheung will continue his visit in Geneva before departing for The Hague, the Netherlands.

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