On February 2, 2018, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region officially formalized the process of ratifying the OECD’s Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA). That means that the jurisdiction will join soon the existing multilateral network of data exchange between the tax authorities of many countries and territories around the world.
The Hong Kong Tax and Fees Department introduced the Ordinance on Automatic Exchange of Information on Financial Accounts (AEOI), which will optimize the process of obtaining information by the countries with which the jurisdiction agrees to exchange. This refers to the exchange both under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and the intercountry reporting exchange under the BEPS Plan.

After joining of Hong Kong the Multilateral Agreement, the authorities of the country will be able to pass a rather formal procedure for finalizing the relations with other participants through the OECD secretariat.
If we compare this process with the conclusion of separate bilateral agreements with a number of the countries, it is much faster and easier.
It is important to note that until the end of this year, the old (bilateral) rules for automatic exchange will remain in force in Hong Kong, and the new obligations will come into effect on January 1, 2019. Thus, the local financial institutions still have time to prepare and bring their internal control and reporting process in line with the new rules to be able to exchange the information for 2019 at the end of 2020.

On January 24, 2018, another six states signed the Multilateral Convention for the Implementation of Activities under the BEPS Plan (MLI Convention). In this regard, the countries were able to amend promptly their agreements on avoidance of double taxation, taking into account the recommendations developed by the OECD in the framework of the plan of action to counteract the base erosion and withdrawal of profits from taxation.
Barbados, Côte d'Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia joined the MLI Convention, after which the total number of signers reached 78.
It is also worth noting that Algeria, Kazakhstan, Oman and Swaziland have announced their intention to sign the Convention in the near future. In addition, other jurisdictions are actively working on signing the agreement in June this year, as the press service of the OECD reports.
To date, four jurisdictions - Austria, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Poland - have ratified the Convention, which will enter into force three months after the fifth part of jurisdictions transfers the instruments of ratification to storage.
The Convention, developed as part of large-scale negotiations involving more than 100 countries and jurisdictions, is designed to allow the countries to include promptly the proposed amendments into their tax agreements without necessity to review individually the last ones on a bilateral basis.