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CEPA to Benefit Professionals

More professionals will have their qualifications recognized in both the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).

"Since the Hong Kong side has special concerns on this issue, we decided to give more than we had promised,'' said An Min, vice-minister of commerce.

"A high-level meeting on this topic will be held next February,'' he said.

An did not give out any more details.

An made the remarks at a press conference on the first meeting of a joint steering committee for CEPA implementation.

This high-powered body will be a permanent mechanism for Beijing and Hong Kong to discuss and review regular cooperation issues.

Hong Kong Financial Secretary Henry Tang attended the meeting Wednesday.

"Problems may happen since it is the first free trade pact for both, but the joint committee will solve them through practical means,'' Tang said.

Four topics, including trade of goods and services, investment ease and recognition of professional qualification, were discussed.

An said CEPA will kick off on January 1 as scheduled.

Under the free-trade pact, 273 Hong Kong products will be exempt from tariffs when exported to the mainland.

All Hong Kong products will be subject to zero tariffs by January 2006 upon application by Hong Kong manufacturers.

The technical department of the Customs office has completed plans to upgrade computers to identify products originated from Hong Kong.

The mainland customs will also link its computer network with Hong Kong departments to share information about Hong Kong products.

(China Daily December 18, 2003)




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