Tradelink, Hong Kong's exclusive management system of government-related EDI (electronic data interchange) traffic, has begun a beta test at 11 sites for the electronic duplication of export licence applications in the textile industry. Simon Clennell, marketing communications manager of Tradelink, said the first beta test phase gave clothing exporters and manufacturers the option to apply for a restraint textile export licence using a standard personal computer with a dial-up modem. All necessary documents were sent to Tradelink and matched together to form the one application. The conventional paper licensing process will continue to be used alongside the EDI experiment for another few weeks but the electronic application will replace the paper version as the legally binding document in a second test phase. More than 100 companies are expected to join the expanded pilot test in September. This will not incur any user charges before the scheduled commercial service start next year. Mr Clennell said the Tradelink fee table was subject to approval by the Executive Council in the next few months. He said the Government hoped to encourage wider adoption of EDI technology with a licence-fee rebate equal to Tradelink service charges, thus putting EDI users on a level footing with conventional paper-based applicants. The Tradelink system and software is being implemented by Hewlett-Packard Hong Kong but Tradelink is to make the system specifications available to encourage third-party software developers to produce code for the system.