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Hong Kong Must Fully Tap Potential Of CEPA, Says Tsang

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

19 September 2007

Hong Kong industry must keep abreast of the mainland China's development and the rising influence of globalisation and economic integration, and prepare to reap the opportunities and fully tap the potential of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), Financial Secretary John Tsang said on Wednesday.

Opening the CEPA Supplement IV Business Forum with Vice Minister of Commerce Liao Xiaoqi, Tsang pointed out that CEPA has established a brand new economic platform which further bolsters Hong Kong's status in both regional and international markets.

CEPA has also bolstered Hong Kong's economic recovery and enhanced the access of professionals to the Mainland market, he added.

Tsang explained that Wednesday's forum aimed to update Hong Kong industry on CEPA's implementation progress and help them understand more about the new liberalisation package and business opportunities that it brings.

Noting the forum is one of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region's 10th anniversary celebration events, the Financial Secretary said the event marked the importance of CEPA to Hong Kong's economic development since reunification, and showed the joint efforts of Hong Kong and the Mainland in implementing the trade pact.

About 400 Hong Kong traders and professionals attended the forum. Representatives of 11 central ministries and 13 provincial and municipal governments briefed forum attendants on the new areas of liberalisation under CEPA Supplement IV, and the implementation arrangements at local levels.

CEPA is the first free trade agreement between China and Hong Kong. CEPA covers liberalisation and co-operation measures in trade in goods, trade in services, and trade and investment facilitation. All Hong Kong products satisfying the CEPA rules of origin are entitled to tariff-free treatment upon importation into the Mainland market.

Since the CEPA agreement was first signed in June 2003, a further four supplemental agreements have been agreed, each one adding new products and services to the scope of the agreement. Under Supplement IV, signed in July 2007, the Mainland will introduce 40 liberalisation measures in 28 services areas, including existing ones such as banking, tourism, convention and exhibition, and medical, plus 11 new ones including elderly services, environmental services and public utilities. The two sides will also boost co-operation in finance, convention and exhibition, and mutual recognition of professional qualifications. These provisions will become effective on January 1, 2008.

The SAR Government's latest study indicated that between 2004 and 2006, CEPA generated 36,000 new jobs for Hong Kong residents and attracted HK$5.1 billion in additional capital investment in the city. The pact also created 16,000 new jobs for Mainlanders and attracted HK$9.2 billion additional capital investment by Hong Kong companies on the Mainland.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series looking at Tax-Effective Global Manufacturing and Financing Structures is available in the Lowtax Library at and a description of the report can be seen at

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