Mainland and HK officials agree on a single customs examination The mainland and Hong Kong have agreed on a single customs examination at the border - a move that will slash paperwork in half and reduce the time it takes for trucks to deliver goods. Hong Kong will step up checks on local manufacturers and their goods to prevent abuse of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (Cepa), which comes into effect on Thursday. Random checks on outgoing trucks will also be intensified. Under the free-trade pact, 273 Hong Kong products entering the mainland will be exempted from tariffs. From Thursday, Hong Kong customs will certify exports delivered to the mainland as legal, stamp them with a green seal of approval, and forward their Certificates of Origin to mainland authorities via the internet. Mainland officials will check the documents against a database to ensure they meet import rules. The amount of paperwork will be further reduced after it was also agreed that truck drivers will only have to fill in one cargo manifest instead of the current two for both Hong Kong and the mainland. There will be six copies of this form: two will go to the mainland, three will be collected by Hong Kong and the truck driver will keep the other. The agreement, announced at a press conference in Beijing yesterday, is the latest sign of co-operation between Hong Kong and the mainland under the Cepa. The head of trade controls at Hong Kong customs, Andrew Wong Ching-wai, said officers at border checkpoints would conduct 'blitz checks' on goods and vehicles heading for the mainland. He said goods that were prone to tax abuse, such as clothing, would be subjected to more rigorous checks. The department had also deployed 59 staff to step up trade control, Mr Wong said. They will carry out factory visits and conduct costing checks - which involves comparing the good's prices and the cost of making them in Hong Kong to see whether the exported goods were really made in Hong Kong. Mr Wong said such measures would stop people from smuggling goods made in cheap regions into Hong Kong then re-exporting them to the mainland as Hong Kong-made to enjoy zero tariffs. Mainland officials shared similar concerns. Gong Zheng, vice-minister of the General Administration of Customs (GAC), and other GAC officials said one of their most important tasks was to verify the source of imports. The GAC plans to rely heavily on a sophisticated computer system to analyse imports. Documents forwarded from Hong Kong that do not match records in the database would require the export company to pay a deposit until the mismatch was corrected. 'My concern is falsified documents,' said Liu Guang Ping, director-general of Customs Duty Collection. 'Transparency is the best way to prevent corruption.' The customs administrations on both sides are also considering establishing a joint office responsible for analysing the trade of goods.