HK moves to bolster use of EDI
Hong Kong's textile traders will be encouraged to use electronic data interchange (EDI) for submission of restrained textile export licence (Rtel) applications under a phased migration programme announced last week.
The Trade Department and Tradelink Electronic Commerce (Tradelink), said the 6,250 textiles traders would move to paperless submissions at a well-managed pace by the end of next year.
Assistant Director-General of Trade Edward Yau said: 'The Government is strongly committed to encouraging the use of EDI because it will help the Hong Kong business community improve its efficiency and productivity, and maintain its competitiveness in the world market.' Electronic licensing had many benefits for traders, he said, adding it included longer submission hours, faster approval time, and reduced risk of error and delay.
The migration programme will be introduced in four phases at four-monthly intervals.
About 680 textile traders are being asked to migrate to EDI submission from January 1998.
This will be followed by 630 high-volume users, who will transfer by May next year, and another 1,000 users by September.
The remaining 3,900 small-volume users will be required to migrate to EDI by the end of December next year.
The programme is supported by the Textiles Advisory Board.
The textile export licence, or quota licence, is a requirement for all traders exporting restrained garments and textiles to countries that impose quotas, including Hong Kong's largest export markets in North America and the European Union.
Last year, about 600,000 Rtels were issued.
Mr Yau said this would be the first statutory trade document in Hong Kong to move entirely from paper to EDI processing.
The electronic submission facility already is being provided by Tradelink.
Tradelink, which is a joint public and private sector organisation, also announced a series of special initiatives to help companies make the switch as easily and cheaply as possible.