The Tradelink electronic document service is building a network with strategic partners to speed up the move from paper to electronic trade declarations. About 70,000 companies have to submit declarations electronically by March 31, 2000, when the Government will close down counters receiving paper declarations. Tradelink's partners include Hewlett-Packard, International Transport Information System - which specialises in providing electronic systems to freight forwarders - Hong Kong Star Internet, Jardine Office Systems (JOS), and Asian Sources Media Group's Asian Sources On-line. Tradelink communications manager Simon Clennell said: 'The aim of our alliance is to get these companies to help us get our services out quickly in the market place.' Tradelink could not do the job alone, he said. It was not interested in selling software but wished to get people to use its services. While some companies file only one or two trade declarations a year, others file hundreds. Smaller traders who do not have computers may file declarations through electronic trading access centres to be set up around Hong Kong. Mr Clennell said these centres would sell their services for a small fee. According to research in the early 1990s, about 40 per cent of companies in Hong Kong were not computerised. Today, only about 10-15 per cent are without personal computers. Mr Clennell said the growth of the Internet was encouraging people to use computers. 'If we keep the price low, we should be able to get companies into electronic data interchange before the paper transaction counters close.' Mr Clennell said Tradelink was also setting up links with other electronic trade service providers such as CargoNet. By including government-related services, such service providers could give more value to their customers, he said. After trade declarations had been tackled, Tradelink would look at the issuance of certificate of origin electronically. Currently, a certificate of origin is issued by the Trade Department or one of five government-appointed organisations. They include the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Hong Kong Industries, Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Chinese Manufacturers Association and the Indian Chamber of Commerce. Businessmen can apply for quota licences and submit trade declarations from their office or home computer through Tradelink. Tradelink Electronic Document Services is a private company which is 48 per cent-owned by the Government with the rest held by 10 key business organisations.