On November 15, Australia and Hong Kong signed a Declaration of Intent signifying the successful conclusion of negotiations on the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and an Investment Agreement. Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, and Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau finalized the deal on the sidelines of 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

The negotiations for the FTA and Investment Agreement began in 2017. The agreements aim to expand existing market access between the two regions, and mark a significant milestone in the two regions’ history of fruitful trade relationships.

After almost two years of contentious negotiations, the European Union and the United Kingdom have drafted a withdrawal agreement. The 585-page agreement details the regulations of the transition period for both sides after the UK exits the EU in March of 2019.

The deal aims to avoid a hard border between the UK and the EU, but several clauses within the agreement have proven controversial. One of the central points of dispute is the Irish border “backstop,” or the proposed solution to the fear of a hard border between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.