Trading of services likely to expand after Cepa talks

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 March, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 March, 2005, 12:00am

Greater co-operation in the trading of services between the mainland and Hong Kong is expected after talks between Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai and Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa.

Mr Tung, who attended the opening of the CPPCC plenary session, met Mr Bo in the morning and they discussed further implementation of the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement between the mainland and Hong Kong.

'Mr Tung was very keen on finding ways to strengthen Cepa and we have discussed some concrete issues,' Mr Bo said. 'We have also talked about Hong Kong's economic conditions in recent years ... I feel that Hong Kong has overcome many difficulties.'

He said that since Cepa's second phase, items that could be exported from Hong Kong to the mainland tariff-free had risen by more than 200 to over 700.

'Almost all goods that Hong Kong manufacturers are capable of exporting have already been included in Cepa ... I believe more openings will happen, for example, in the trading of services,' he added, without elaborating.

The second phase came into effect this year. It opened up eight new areas such as information technology and job referral services to Hong Kong providers and further relaxed 11 of the 18 sectors already under Cepa.

Asked whether the central government had been under pressure to rein in textile exports growth after quotas were axed, Mr Bo said: 'China is a responsible major trading nation. We hope that the volume and prices of our exports will be stable.'