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The external affairs of the Hong Kong SAR: UK-Hong Kong economic relations

Tim Summers (Centre for China Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

Asian Education and Development Studies

ISSN: 2046-3162

Article publication date: 25 January 2019

Issue publication date: 28 March 2019




The purpose of this paper is to examine economic relations between Hong Kong and the UK, especially since 2012, in order to shed light on the management of Hong Kong’s external relations.


The context for the research is discussion of “grey areas” between Hong Kong’s external relations and foreign affairs. Research is based on textual analysis of British and some Hong Kong policy documents, government statements and media reports, as well as personal discussions with many involved in UK-Hong Kong ties.


The paper finds that the UK-Hong Kong economic relationship is managed autonomously, demonstrating Hong Kong’s external economic affairs and bilateral exchanges being practised with a high degree of autonomy. It also shows the importance that the British government attaches to its economic relationship with Hong Kong in its own right, and the likely increase in that importance as Brexit unfolds.


The paper engages in detailed analysis of economic relations between the UK and Hong Kong, in contrast to most post-1997 studies which have focused on Hong Kong’s ties with the USA or European Union.



Summers, T. (2019), "The external affairs of the Hong Kong SAR: UK-Hong Kong economic relations", Asian Education and Development Studies, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 126-136.



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