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CEPA to Bring Beijing, Hong Kong Closer

The Beijing municipal government issued a series of specific policies on Friday to promote the implementation of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), which took effect at the turn of the New Year.

Wang Hui, an official from the Beijing municipal government, announced that various government departments in the capital city are making efforts to create bridges with Hong Kong and streamline administrative procedures.

"As 273 Hong Kong-originated products began enjoying zero tariffs on the mainland as stipulated in CEPA, the Beijing Commerce Bureau has set up a specific office to provide related information and promote bilateral co-operation for local commercial retailers and Hong Kong manufacturers," said Li Zhao, director of the bureau.

The Beijing Logistics Association will join hands with Hong Kong institutes to hold promotional fairs twice a year to help Hong Kong businesses participate in the construction of the capital city's logistics parks, which have been targetted as a key project of the Beijing 10th Five-Year Development Plan (2001-05) and the 2008 Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, the Beijing Commerce Bureau and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council will hold meetings twice a year to conduct negotiations on key economic and trade issues affecting the capital city and the special region.

In addition, the Beijing Development Planning Commission has joined hands with related Hong Kong departments to encourage qualified Beijing enterprises to list on the key board and second board stock markets in Hong Kong.

Official statistics show that, by the end of November, there were 6,875 Hong Kong-funded enterprises in Beijing, with contractual investments worth US$17.47 billion.

According to Wang, besides the business aspects, co-operation between Beijing and Hong Kong may be extended to medical, legal and tourism services in line with CEPA.

The Beijing Health Bureau announced that, to facilitate personnel and technology exchanges between local and Hong Kong medical institutes, permanent Hong Kong residents majoring in traditional Chinese medicine and having graduated from specific recognized Hong Kong universities, will get mainland qualified doctor certificates after a one-year residency in mainland hospitals and after passing a unified examination, they can work in Beijing hospitals, according to Wang.

(China Daily January 3, 2004)

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