AN impending co-operation between the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) and one of the biggest trade promotion organisations in Japan will boost Hong Kong-Japan trade beyond 1997, a council spokesman says. Assistant executive director Mary Wong yesterday said the TDC would sign a long-term co-operation memorandum with the Kansai branch of the Japan Hong Kong Society in September next year. 'The proposed memorandum will not only strengthen the co-operation between the two countries beyond 1997 but boost the confidence of bilateral trade in the long run,' Ms Wong said. She said the memorandum, which would still be effective after 1997, would be the first long-term general agreement with the TDC's Japanese counterpart. Kansai branch chairman Hiromu Onogi, who is now heading a delegation in Hong Kong, said the agreement was a recognition of Hong Kong as the biggest trading partner of Japan beyond 1997. Based on the memorandum, the TDC would match trade activities between Kansai and South China, Ms Wong said. A delegate said the Kansai branch expected to import goods such as textile items, machinery, foodstuff and general merchandise products from southern China to Kansai, to make Kansai a distribution centre for its region. More than 80 per cent of Kansai trade with China this year was traded through Hong Kong trading partners.