U.S. and Hong Kong accounting organizations have inked a five-year mutual recognition agreement that would allow reciprocity between U.S. and Hong Kong CPAs.

The deal, announced at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy on Monday, would eventually allow accountants to work in both the U.S. and Hong Kong, subject to approval by state boards of accountancy.

The agreement with the Hong Kong Institute has been recommended to the boards of accountancy in all 55 U.S. jurisdictions for their adoption and implementation. The agreement aims to streamline the process for qualified professionals with accounting credentials to become certified and licensed in each other’s countries.

The agreement was between the U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board and the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs. The IQAB is a joint body of NASBA and the American Institute of CPAs.

“The agreement we’ve signed today with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants will make great strides in advancing the reciprocity of CPAs in the U.S. and in Hong Kong,” said U.S. IQAB chair William Treacy in a statement. “IQAB has thoroughly evaluated the educational, examination and experience requirements of CPAs in Hong Kong and is confident they are substantially equivalent to those of the U.S. CPA.”

The deal comes at a time when the quality of Chinese auditors has been questioned by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which has been seeking access to China-based auditing firms to inspect their audits of companies that trade on the U.S. public markets. So far, the PCAOB has been unable to gain access to the auditing firms, but is in talks with Chinese officials to try to reach a solution.

“Our agreement with the Hong Kong Institute validates our purposeful and determined quest to be truly global in mutual recognition of high-quality accounting credentials,” said NASBA president and CEO David Costello. “We look forward to our association with the Hong Kong Institute and to more effectively facilitating the professional practice of accountancy on behalf of the public interest of both the United States and Hong Kong.”

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