Reinforcing our Strengths
Improving our Business Environment
18. Hong Kong has a very
favourable business environment, underpinned by a sound
legal system, an independent judiciary, a low and simple
tax regime, free flows of capital and information, and a
clean and efficient government.
Nonetheless, we must strive for continuous
improvement if we are to increase our competitiveness
and boost economic development.
The Economic and Employment Council established
last year has identified the construction and retail
industries, which have a significant influence on our
economy and the job market, for regulatory review.
The review aims to facilitate businesses by
breaking down barriers and streamlining procedures.
The Council is particularly concerned that many
types of licences are required for a commercial
undertaking and involve lengthy procedures.
One of the main objectives of the review is
therefore to look into the feasibility of issuing
composite licences and, where practicable, introducing
third-party certification or self-certification.
This would expedite the licensing process and
enable the departments concerned to redeploy resources
and step up enforcement action, thereby reducing
expect the Council to complete the review and put
forward specific proposals by the end of this year.
To create a more
user-friendly business environment, we will continue to
drive our e-government programme to enhance our service
quality and efficiency.
We will also promote the adoption of e-business
in the private sector.
In February this year, for instance, the Land
Registry rolled out the Integrated Registration
Information System, which enables the industries
concerned and the public in general to conduct online
land search. Towards
the end of last year, the Intellectual Property
Department started to allow electronic filing of
applications for registration of trademark, patents and
a result, application fees have been considerably
reduced and although this arrangement has been in place
for only a few months, nearly 30 per cent of
applications are now filed electronically.