China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has been declared a trusted trade partner of Australia, opening up bilateral trade between the two economies.
Under the Australian Trusted Trader (ATT) scheme, Australia can sign a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) with trade partners to secure faster, more secure and more reliable border clearance for exported goods.
The MRA with Hong Kong came into effect on Thursday, offering benefits to more than 140 accredited Australian exporters.
Prior to the agreement, Australian exports to Hong Kong were worth 12.9 billion Australian dollars (9.9 billion U.S. dollars) annually according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, making it Australia's eight largest export market.
Angus Taylor, Australia's Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security, said the MRA will cut red tape and strengthen the relationship between the two markets.
"This MRA builds on the other MRAs we have implemented over the past 18 months with China, New Zealand, Canada and the Republic of Korea, which together are worth 773 million Australian dollars (593 million U.S.) to the Australian economy," Taylor said in a media release on Thursday.
Taylor confirmed that negotiations were continuing on MRAs with other major trading partners such as Japan.
The government announced in February that an MRA with the U.S. would be advanced, boosting the Australian economy by 417 million U.S. dollars.