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CEPA Accelerates HK-Henan Economic Cooperation

On April 13, CEPA (mainland-Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) and Henan Forum was held in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province during the 3rd China Henan International Investment and Trade Fair. Government officials and economic experts from China's mainland and Hong Kong delivered speeches and had thorough discussions on how to enhance cooperation between HK and Henan and stimulate economic development of Henan Province in line with the CEPA favorable policies.

Shi Jichun, vice governor of Henan, Zhang Yixiang, chairman of Henan Branch of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and Zhengzhou Mayor Wang Wenchao attended the forum.

Shi Jichun expressed his hope that the forum will help local businesses to
know better the CEPA policies which took effect at the beginning of this year and seize the opportunity to enhance trade exchanges and cooperation with Hong Kong. In the meantime, the CEPA and Henan Forum is also expected to serve as a platform, through which the HK business circles will have a better understanding of Henan.

Zhengzhou Mayor Wang Wenchao delivered a keynote speech in which he introduced the unique geographical advantages and the investment environment of Zhengzhou City. Enterprises from Henan, HK and Macao are encouraged to take the advantage of the CEPA policies to further cooperation in fields of information industry,  E-business, industrial production, financial and insurance industry and logistic trade.

Zhu Ying, chief representative of Hong Kong Trade Development Council, and other participating guests acknowledged the role of the mainland in the development and prosperity of Hong Kong. They agreed that the populous Henan is a huge market, and that the implementation of the CEPA will be conducive to the business and trade exchanges between the two sides.

Henan has established a closer business relationship with Hong Kong and Macao with 50 percent of the investment coming from Hong Kong. Henan Provincial Department of Commerce is endeavoring to have HK TDC to set up the "CEPA Business Center" in Zhengzhou so as to provide policy, law and business consultancy service for the enterprises of the two areas.

The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong signed the CEPA last June. Under the arrangement, since January 1, 2004, 273 categories of made-in-Hong Kong goods can enter the mainland market free of tariffs, with this extending to all product categories by 2006.

(China.org.cn by Li Xiao, April 16, 2004)

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