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HKSAR Fully Supports Closer Economic Partnership with Mainland
All public consultation responses received by the Hong Kong Special Administration Region (HKSAR) government are in support of the implementation of Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between the mainland and the HKSAR.

Antony Leung, HKSAR financial secretary, told the HKSAR Legislative Council Wednesday that during the consultation period, the HKSAR government received over 100 written submissions from the public, commerce and industrial organizations, professional bodies, as well as the academia.

"All submissions supported the early establishment of the CEPA, as well as the proposed coverage of the arrangement and the principles of consultations. Some commerce and industrial organizations and professional bodies also put forward sector-specific proposals," Leung said.

Leung said the HKSAR government will fully consider all the views and proposals collected, and reflect them as appropriate in the various proposals to be made in consultation with the mainland.

Late last year, the Central People's Government agreed in principle on the proposal of the HKSAR government as to the establishment of some form of a free trade area, and soon afterwards, the Mainland/Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) consultations were launched, he said.

Both sides agreed that the CEPA consultations should comply with relevant World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, and that it should be mutually beneficial, taking into account the trends of economic developments in the two places, Leung said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2002)

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