Beauty and cosmetic products are likely to be among the early Cepa winners Hong Kong should become attractive to higher value-added industries by 2006 because of the free-trade pact signed on Sunday with the mainland, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology Henry Tang Ying-yen said yesterday. Speaking during an RTHK programme, he said Hong Kong companies competing at the top end of value chains, such as manufacturers of beauty and cosmetic products, would be given a distinct advantage under Cepa. Other World Trade Organisation members would only see their average mainland tariffs lowered from 14.8 per cent to 8.9 per cent, while Hong Kong's would be zero. But Mr Tang said it was up to the private sector to make use of the advantage. 'We do not believe Cepa is a free lunch or a free cake put at our doorstep,' he said. 'Hong Kong companies should seize the opportunities brought by the pact.' A total of 273 classes of goods from Hong Kong will enjoy zero import tariff treatment from January 1. The zero tariff will apply to other goods of Hong Kong origin no later than January 1, 2006. Cepa also provides Hong Kong firms involved in 17 sectors with earlier access to the mainland market. The sectors include legal, banking and insurance. Mr Tang's remarks were echoed by Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung. Mr Leung told legislators yesterday that some Hong Kong companies currently manufacturing high value-added products in other countries were considering moving their production back to Hong Kong. Cepa was a major consideration. The financial secretary said it was clear that Cepa would benefit the mainland by providing a close-hand demonstration of high-quality global service operations. 'Hong Kong's service industries are of world-class quality,' Mr Leung said. 'Their earlier access to the mainland market will boost the development of service industries there.' In response to Democrat legislator Sin Chung-kai's remark that Hong Kong's gains from Cepa might spark envy from some mainland cities, Mr Leung said: 'We should not belittle our contribution to the economic development of the mainland.' Mr Tang said the government planned to provide one-stop consultancy services to companies wishing to explore market opportunities on the mainland. Yeung Yue-man, chairman of the Central Policy Unit's panel on the Pearl River Delta, said he would set up a taskforce to co-ordinate development among various delta cities. 'Right now, each city in the delta only cares about its own interests and competes against one another,' he said. Professor Yeung cited the example of the many airports in the delta area that are not fully utilised. A taskforce was needed to help better co-ordinate the use of the facilities, he said.