Britain and France want to use Cepa as investment gateway Tung Chee-hwa yesterday declared his European tour to promote Hong Kong a success. The chief executive said British and French political and business leaders had been 'very positive' about the city's future as a springboard to the mainland market. During his five-day trip to the two countries, which ended in Paris yesterday, Mr Tung met British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac. He said politicians and more than 1,000 business leaders he met were confident about Hong Kong's economic recovery. He had told British and French political leaders and leading businessmen from the industrial and financial sector that Hong Kong's economy had already started to improve. 'I found them very interested in entering the mainland market. I have told them what Hong Kong is like after Cepa [Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement], and many [foreign] corporations would [invest in the mainland] through Hong Kong,' Mr Tung said. ' I can tell you happily that the reactions from both British and French enterprises were extremely positive.' The government has long claimed that the trade pact signed in June between the mainland and Hong Kong would benefit foreign investors on the mainland by making use of tax concessions Hong Kong enjoys under the agreement. In a one-hour meeting with Mr Chirac at the Elysee Palace, the pair discussed the political and economic ties between China and France, and Hong Kong's role in these links. Mr Tung said that as Sino-French relations were so good, more French people would come and invest in Hong Kong.