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Trade Links Further Liberalized with Hong Kong

The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong further liberalized trade by adding 713 types of goods on the zero-tariff list yesterday, which will be implemented January 1 of next year.

Deputy Commerce Minister An Min and Hong Kong Financial Secretary Henry Tang signed the legal text for the second phase of the Mainland-Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) in Hong Kong after the fourth high level meeting of the CEPA Steering Committee.

Under the deal, 529 goods currently being produced by Hong Kong manufacturers will be exempted from tariffs. Another 184 goods that are not now made in Hong Kong will be included, in a bid that companies will locate the potential and begin producing them.

Now nearly all goods produced in Hong Kong will enjoy zero tariffs.

These 713 items include textiles and clothing, food and beverages, pharmaceutical products as well as some plastic and metal products.

Both sides also singed rules of origin for the 713 types of goods.

The mainland agreed to a proposal put forward by the Hong Kong Government to shorten the time gap in the new agreement.

Upon that, manufacturers will enjoy zero tariff status upon confirmation by both sides that the planned products have come into production. This flexibility allows manufacturers to enjoy the benefits of CEPA early and encourages them to speed up implementation of their new investment plans.

In the service area, the central government agreed to grant preferential treatment to Hong Kong companies in eight more industries, including patent and trademark agencies, airport services, entertainment, information technology, job agencies and certification.

Beijing also granted Hong Kong firms broader access to mainland markets in 11 of 18 service sectors already enjoying preferential treatment.

The two sides will continue to pursue further liberalization in goods and services trade through the established liaison mechanisms.

Beijing had previously agreed to eliminate tariffs on 374 Hong Kong goods starting in January and to open 18 service sectors to Hong Kong companies.

(China Daily October 28, 2004)


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