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Mainland, HK Speed CEPA Accreditation

The Chinese government says the mainland and Hong Kong have made substantial progress in enhancing cooperation in the service sector under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement or CEPA, which came into effect at the beginning of the year.

Related government agencies are reportedly speeding up the process of mutual accreditation of professional qualifications from both sides.

The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong have held three consultations this year regarding the mutual accreditation of each other's professional qualifications. They have covered six sectors, namely construction, securities, insurance, accounting, medical and legal services.

Two more consultations are scheduled to be held this week.

The two parties have signed a memorandum on the qualification accreditation of professionals in the construction sector, and also a cooperation agreement in the insurance sector. These agreements are expected to encourage the flow of talent between the mainland and Hong Kong.

Peter Leung, director of the HK Economic & Trade Office in Guangdong, said, "Increasingly, Hong Kong professionals want to explore business opportunities on the mainland. And conversely, mainland professionals are seeking partners in Hong Kong."

One human resource company reports that in the three short months since CEPA came into effect, its business between the mainland and Hong Kong has increased more than 20 percent. The company is expecting even more rapid growth after June.

Meanwhile, international accounting firm Price Water House Coopers is planning staff exchanges between the mainland and Hong Kong.

Du Yuanshen, a partner at the Price Water House Coopers Shenzhen Branch, said, "The staff exchange will be conducted over 18 months. We hope this will help improve the professional abilities of both sides."

(CCTV March 23, 2004)

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