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26.     To build the best foundation for business, we must take steps to maintain an orderly market and ensure that it provides a level playing field for all enterprises. SMEs account for 98 per cent of Hong Kong businesses. In order to promote their development, fair competition has become all the more important. As an advanced economy, Hong Kong must also move with the times in developing our competition policy. The Competition Policy Review Committee, which I appointed last year, is reviewing our existing policy and its effectiveness. We will consider the Committee recommendations and how best to enhance fair competition once it has submitted its report in the middle of the year.

27.     The Economic and Employment Council (EEC) and its Subgroup on Business Facilitation have, in the past two years or so, made a number of recommendations aimed at cutting red tape and streamlining procedures. The Government has adopted 38 of these recommendations, including simplifying land lease conditions and introducing a composite licence for ready-to-eat food and a provisional licensing system for cinemas. These measures should reduce the business sector compliance costs and enhance efficiency.

28.     Following the establishment of the Commission on Strategic Development, I disbanded the EEC at the end of last year and replaced it with the Business Facilitation Advisory Committee (BFAC) to focus on and advise the Government on business facilitation measures. This year, BFAC will conduct in-depth reviews of land lease and planning procedures affecting the construction industry, and licensing regimes for food premises such as factory canteens and alfresco dining facilities, theme parks and family amusement centres. The Committee will also look into the feasibility of implementing such measures as expanding the scope of application of temporary licences, composite licences and certification by professionals.

29.     The Government should strive not only to look out for the interests of investors but also to protect labour rights. The Labour Advisory Board is now looking into the issues of minimum wage and standard working hours. We will give them objective and serious consideration.

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2005 © | Important notices Last revision date : 22 February, 2006