The intense protests in Hong Kong over the proposed extradition laws are unlikely to affect bilateral trade between India and the island nation which continues to be robust in items such as electronics, electrical appliances and food, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council has said.

“There has been a small decline in exports from India to Hong Kong in the first four months of the fiscal but it has more to do with global trade sentiments and India’s economic scenario rather than the protests. Due to strong performance of some sectors such as electronics, the numbers will improve,” said Rajesh Bhagat, South Asia Consultant, HKTDC.

Bhagat said Hong Kong continued to be a safe city and the financial markets were working normally indicating there was no cause for concern.

Hong Kong was India’s fifth largest export destination in the April-July 2019 period with exports dipping marginally by 5 per cent to $3.8 billion from $4 billion in the same period last year.

Imports from Hong Kong to India increased 2.2 per cent in the April-July 2019 period to $5.7 billion from $5.2 billion in the comparable months last year helping it maintain its position as the seventh largest import destination for India.

“Hong Kong will continue to be an important destination for India. That won’t ever be compromised in the long run or short run. India will always want to do more of exports. We will have to look at destinations that help us to reach out to international market. In Asia, Hong Kong is one such destination because it reaches out to buyers from all over the world,” Bhagat said.

Because of the importance of Hong Kong as a trading hub, all export promotion councils from India have trade pavilions in various events held in the city, Bhagat added.

Interestingly, two expos, one on tea and the other on food, organised in Hong Kong earlier this month, where many companies from India participated, went off well with thousands of business visitors despite the current political situation, Bhagat said.

Although in 2018-19 India’s exports to Hong Kong declined by 11 per cent to $13 billion, from $14.6 billion in the previous fiscal, it was mostly due to a decline in gems & jewellery trade, which was a global phenomenon, according to HKTDC.

“A decline in gems & jewellery is now being compensated with an increase in export of telecommunication equipment, electronics and non-metallic minerals. HKTDC is reaching out to various States such as those in the North-East, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to spread awareness about the potential of exporting to Hong Kong,” Bhagat said.

As many as 40 Indian companies will be participating at the HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair 2019 in October, he added.