Hong Kong–Nicaragua relations

Hong Kong-Nicaraguan relations
Map indicating locations of Hong Kong and Nicaragua

Hong Kong


Hong Kong–Nicaragua relations refers to the bilateral relationship between Hong Kong and Nicaragua.


Hong Kong was a trading outpost of Ming Empire and Nicaragua was part of the transcontinental Spanish Empire in the late 16th Century. Scholar has suggested that the Ming Empire and the Spanish Empire's direct contact could be traced back to the 1570s when the Spaniards were able to establish Manila as a trade base. The pre-modern trans-Pacific linkage had a far-reaching impact that touched areas including Hong Kong and Nicaragua.[1][2][3]

The trade between the two prospers nowadays. In 2014, the value of exports from Hong Kong to Nicaragua was worth 363M Hong Kong dollars, while the importing goods from Nicaragua to Hong Kong was worth 108M Hong Kong dollars. Major exports from Hong Kong are light rubberized knitted fabric (51%) and heavy pure woven cotton (22%). Major exports from Nicaragua to Hong Kong are non-retail pure molluscs (22%), and prepared meat (more than 13%).[4][5]

However, as Nicaragua recognises Taiwan as the "Republic of China", it does not have a consulate in Hong Kong, which has been a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Prior to the transfer of sovereignty in 1997, Nicaragua maintained a consulate when Hong Kong was under British administration.[6]

The cooperation between the two has been more significant and controversial in the development of the Nicaraguan Canal. Nicaragua's National Assembly approved a bill to grant a 50-year concession to finance and manage the project to the Hong Kong-based company, Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company (HKND Group) in 2013. The Hong Kong investment has created one of the most significant and controversial trade agreements in Nicaraguan history. The canal, once completed, would provide an alternative passage between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean.[7][8][9][10][11][12] The concession can be extended for another 50 years once the waterway is operational.[13] The major dispute is the concern on the project's environmental impact, especially on Lake Nicaragua, which would be joint by the two world's largest oceans to form one of the busiest shipping route once the canal would be built. It was also expected that local communities and local people's ways of living would be highly affected.[14][15] It has been argued that Nicaragua sold its sovereignty to a Hong Kong company for a century after negotiated without transparency and national consensus.[16] Critics have speculated the funding behind the Hong Kong company has been state-supported,[17] as part of the Chinese grand strategy in controlling the Pacific-Atlantic trade route, especially with the fact that the only other choice of the route, the Panama Canal, is simultaneously controlled by another Hong Kong company, the Hutchison Whampoa.[18]

Cultural and social

According to anthropological studies, both Hong Kong and Nicaragua have been using stone beater for bark cloth manufacturing, which is an indicator of the spread of cultural identity and technology in Bark Clothing.[19] In 2015, a Hong Kong led large scale of archaeological survey was conducted in Nicaragua.[20] More than 1,500 pieces of artifacts, including prehistoric painted pottery dated to 500-1500 AD, were unearthed in the first phase of the excavation.[21] While more discoveries are anticipated in the future, 15,000 pieces of artefacts, including pottery, stone tools, and obsidian were retrieved for Nicaraguan governmental storage.[22]

The relations between the two have a focus on economic, social and cultural aspects because Hong Kong is restricted by Hong Kong Basic Law from concluding military agreements with foreign countries and international organizations.[23]


  1. ^ Kristie Flannery & Ashleigh Dean, The Trans Pacific Silver Trade and Early-Modern Globalization, April 13, 2016.
  2. ^ 香港考古概況
  3. ^ Clifford L. Staten, The History of Nicaragua, Santa Barbara: Greenwood, 2010.
  4. ^ What does Hong Kong export to Nicaragua? (2014), retrieved 2016-07-12.
  5. ^ What does Hong Kong import from Nicaragua? (2014), retrieved 2016-07-12.
  6. ^ Business Directory of Hong Kong, Current Publications Company, 1991, page 903
  7. ^ "Nicaragua canal plan not a joke - Chinese businessman". BBC News. 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  8. ^ "Nicaragua taps China for canal project". Nicaragua dispatch. Sep 2012.
  9. ^ "Nicaragua signs memorandum with Chinese company to build a canal between two oceans". Inside Costa rica. 2012-09-10.
  10. ^ Watts, Jonathan (6 June 2013). "Nicaragua fast-tracks Chinese plan to build canal to rival Panama". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  11. ^ Watts, Jonathan; Richards, Gareth (6 June 2013). "Nicaragua gives Chinese firm contract to build alternative to Panama Canal". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  12. ^ "Nicaragua Congress approves ocean-to-ocean canal plan". BBC News. 2013-06-13. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  13. ^ De Cordoba, Jose (2013-06-13). "Nicaragua Revives Its Canal Dream". The Wall Street Journal Online. Retrieved 2014-03-09.
  14. ^ Jeffrey McCrary; Aldo Hernandez; Octavio Saldana; Ricardo Rueda (2015). "Biodiversity on Canal Route Already at Risk" (PDF). Nature. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-02-17. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  15. ^ Partlow, Joshua (February 4, 2015). "Can a Chinese billionaire build a canal across Nicaragua?". The Washington Post.
  16. ^ Claudia Leon York (July 11, 2013). "Canal deal cripples Nicaraguan sovereignty, again: activist". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2015-01-09.
  17. ^ "【沈旭暉 | 平行時空】尼加拉瓜大運河陰謀論". Archived from the original on 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  18. ^ "【沈旭暉 | 平行時空】尼加拉瓜運河 改寫地緣政治". Archived from the original on 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  19. ^ Tang Chung, Origins of Clothes-Barkcloth, Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2012.
  20. ^ 尼加拉瓜运河项目施工前考古工作正式启动, 2015-12-2, Retrieved 13/7/2016.
  21. ^ 19日在线:科学家在尼加拉瓜大运河沿线已发掘逾1500件文物, 2015-12-13, Retrieved 13/7/2016.
  22. ^ http://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/trad/world/2015/02/150207_nicaragua_china_canal_relics#orb-footer
  23. ^ "Hong Kong Basic Law Chapter VII : External Affairs". basiclaw.gov.hk. Retrieved 2016-07-12.

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