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CEPA Running Smoothly: Official
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The Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) is functioning smoothly, said the Vice Minister of Commerce Liao Xiaoqi on Thursday.

Liao said the two sides had cooperated successfully in services, trade, finance, tourism and human resource since the CEPA was signed four years ago.

The vice minister said the mainland has imported Hong Kong-made products worth US$1 billion, waiving US$91 million of tariffs.

As of January 2006, the mainland scrapped all tariffs on products manufactured in Hong Kong.

A total of 1,753 Hong Kong-based enterprises have invested in the mainland on favorable terms offered by the CEPA, said Liao.

The terms include relaxed restrictions on shareholding and lower capital requirements for registering ventures, he added.

There are 38 banks in Hong Kong which operate RMB business and RMB deposits in the special administrative region have reached 25.5 billion yuan (US$3.3 billion), said Liao.

The mutual recognition of professional qualifications is advancing quickly, said Liao, noting that 1,400 architects had recently been recognized by both sides.

The vice minister also mentioned the tourism sector, saying 49 cities had been opened to Hong Kong tourists, drawing 19.7 million individual tourists.

(Xinhua News Agency June 22, 2007)

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