The customs authorities of Hong Kong and Shenzhen on Wednesday agreed to continue strengthening their exchanges of intelligence, and conduct more joint operation to clamp down on cross-border smuggling activities.
In a reception to welcome Shenzhen customs officials, who are here for a meeting to explore ways reinforcing measures against cross-boundary smuggling activities, Hong Kong customs chief Timothy Tong stressed the importance for both sides to maintain a close relationship.
Passenger and cargo traffic between the two cities is voluminous. There is an average of some 160,000 passengers per day coming to Hong Kong through various checkpoints at Shenzhen, and an average of 56,400 metric tons of incoming cargo from Shenzhen every day.
Tong said Hong Kong customs "accords paramount priority" to law enforcement as well as trade facilitation.
Citing the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) as an example, Tong said the implementation of the pact has been smooth thanks to the close cooperation between the two customs administrations.
As of April 13, 718 Certificate of Origin applications have been received, of which 672 applications involving 294 million HK dollars (US$37.7 million) have been approved. Of the total number of applications, 287 cases involving 117 million HK dollars (US$15 million) have been approved in the past 30 days.
In order to prevent the abuse of CEPA by unscrupulous traders, Hong Kong customs will continue its rigorous trade control measures, such as preventing false declarations, reinforcing inspection of factories, inspecting production records, and conducting checks on goods by using risk management, Tong said.
"All of these measures would help promote a favorable platform for investment, and motivate further cooperation on trade between the two cities," added Tong.
(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2004)