Accessing the Mainland Market, Fostering
21. China has attracted
worldwide attention as a rapidly-growing, emerging
market gradually undergoing further reforms.
The Government's role in tapping into this
market is to reduce any policy obstacles so as to
attract investment from the Mainland, and facilitate
market access for
businesses and professionals.
This is beneficial to
and meets the development needs of the Mainland economy.
The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA)
Phases I and II, signed by
and the Mainland in 2003 and 2004 respectively, are key
milestones in this process.
Under both phases of CEPA, a total of 1 108
products have been granted tariff-free treatment.
Taken together with the Mainland's commitment
on accession to the World Trade Organisation, about 95
per cent of
's domestic exports to the Mainland are now entitled
to such treatment. Under
Phase II, the liberalisation of trade in services has
been extended to 26 sectors.
Both sides have also agreed to enhance
co-operation on trade and investment facilitation in
seven areas. The
economic benefits of CEPA are gradually being realised.
By the end of February this year, products with a
total value of $1.4 billion were exported tariff-free
under CEPA from
to the Mainland. According
to the initial findings of the Government's economic
benefit analysis, we expect to see the creation of more
than 28 000 new jobs in the first two years of
implementing CEPA. The
Individual Visit Scheme, for instance, has led to the
creation of about 16 500 new jobs in 2004 and
generated an additional $6.5 billion in tourist spending
during the year.
CEPA provides a useful
framework for Hong Kong companies to promote their
businesses in the Mainland, and for Mainland companies
to invest and identify suitable business partners in
, which will then assist them to extend their business
networks overseas. In
late August last year, the Mainland authorities
introduced a new investment facilitation policy for
Mainland enterprises to invest and to establish their
businesses in the
and Macau SARs. These
are important steps under CEPA to facilitate investment.
The new policy encourages and supports investment
by Mainland enterprises in
and expedites the decision-making process in respect of
such investment. In
response to it, Invest Hong Kong has introduced
nvest Hong Kong One-stop Services?to provide a
convenient free service for Mainland enterprises that
intend to use
as the platform for their global business.
To facilitate the development of further business
by Mainland enterprises in
, the Commerce, Industry and Trade Bureau will keep the
existing support measures under review, and step up its
co-ordination and promotion work.
Our objective is to
develop and expand CEPA still further.
To this end, the Government is now soliciting the
views of relevant business sectors and will be holding
discussions with the appropriate ministries of the
Since the opening up of the
Mainland, we have continuously been broadening and
deepening our economic relationship with it.
The Mainland is our largest trading partner and
our second-largest source of foreign direct investment,
is its largest source of foreign investment.
In the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region alone, for
example, our manufacturing industry employs about 11 million
workers, over three times the
around 240 000
residents regularly work in the Mainland.
In recent years, the Mainland economy has been
Its structure is also becoming more diversified.
Such developments do pose constant challenges,
but they also open up new opportunities for
As a long-term strategy,
Hong Kong needs to continue strengthening its economic
and other Mainland provinces and cities.
This will extend our co-operation with the
Mainland, complement its further development and
reinforce our own position as the region's premier
bi-directional business platform.
A good example of this is the Mainland/Hong Kong
Science and Technology Co-operation Committee which was
established late last year.
The Committee has agreed to set up a working
group to draw up specific plans for co-operation in four
selected areas, namely, automotive parts and accessory
systems, radio frequency identification technologies,
Chinese medicine, and integrated circuit design.
We are also working in collaboration with leaders
of the relevant Mainland provinces and regions to
promote Guangdong/Hong Kong co-operation and Pan-PRD
co-operation under the ?+
, in order to enhance our regional economic hinterland
and efficiency. This
will help promote
as a base for overseas enterprises to invest in the
Mainland and as a platform for Mainland enterprises
hoping to enter the international market.
This will create a in-win-win?situation
and overseas enterprises.