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CEPA to Be Signed to Boost Hong Kong's Economy: Tung
The good progress Hong Kong and the mainland have made on the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) fully reflects the Central government's support for Hong Kong and will help Hong Kong with economic recovery, Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa said Monday.

"I believe that this arrangement we are going to sign at the end of this month will bring substantial business opportunities for the various sectors here in our community. It will greatly help Hong Kong overcome its difficulties and achieve economic recovery as soon as possible," Tung told reporters in a media session.

"Under the direction of President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabaoand Vice-Premier Wu Yi, and with the concerted efforts of officials from both sides, our discussions have made substantial, concrete progress, and we are close to reaching a consensus. We have agreed to hold a ceremony to sign the agreement on CEPA in Hong Kong on June 30," he said.

According to Tung, the arrangement covers three main areas: trade in goods, trade in services and trade and investment facilitation.

"On trade in goods, many Hong Kong products will benefit from the zero tariff arrangements. On trade in services, a number of sectors will benefit from the arrangement. They include management consultant services, exhibitions and conventions, advertising, legal services, accountancy, medical services, the real estate market, construction engineering, transport, wholesale distribution, logistics, tourism, audio-visual, banking, securities and insurance," he said.

Regarding the questions of origin rules and the definition of a Hong Kong firm, Tung said such are the issues many are very concerned with, and the arrangement has fully taken into account Hong Kong's position as an international city and the present circumstances, adopting rules that are both flexible and easy to monitor.

Tung said he has invited the Central government leadership to meet in Hong Kong for the signing ceremony, as well as to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the return of Hong Kong.

(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2003)

HKSAR Fully Supports Closer Economic Partnership with Mainland
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