DIRECTOR-GENERAL of Trade Tony Miller is urging Hong Kong business to keep a low profile in lobbying for the renewal of China's Most Favoured Nation status. The recent Sino-US rows, which have touched off concern about the continuation of the mainland's MFN status next year, are likely to tempt people to intense lobbying efforts. ''As the annual June 3 deadline approaches yet again, and Hong Kong nerves become taut, the temptation to indulge in high-profile lobbying gestures will increase,'' Mr Miller told a Rotary Club lunch yesterday. ''But they risk Hong Kong being asked to speak on China's behalf - something China might reasonably resent,'' he added. A high-profile approach could be counter-productive, as shown by previous lobbying efforts of some countries, he said. Mr Miller said the Government was studying its lobbying strategy for next year, including the allocation of staff. ''The run-up to American renewal of China's MFN status next year is going to be a tense period for Hong Kong,'' he said. The territory's influence might be reduced because of US President Bill Clinton's executive order, making MFN more of a bilateral issue between the two countries than before. ''There's a good deal we must do - quietly talking to US businesses with a mutual interest in this region. We will continue our efforts to remind US officials and politicians of the potential damage to Hong Kong,'' he said. He also urged local businesses to pass to the US a message of thanks for Americans' contribution to Hong Kong's trade. Mr Miller also said the greatest obstacle to resolving the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and trade (GATT) was some countries' reluctance to compromise, which would hit part of their economies. ''The problem is this: [for those countries] the short-term political costs are immediate and obvious; the benefits will take longer to materialise.'' He expected the December 15 deadline to be final: ''I simply cannot see the US Congress extending the president's negotiating authority yet again. ''I think the US Government is losing patience in the GATT talks. At some point they are going to say 'enough is enough','' he said. Mr Miller suggested that Hong Kong would resort to the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum if the Uruguay Round failed. ''For most in this region the APEC forum is seen as something of a safety net that would at least catch some of the bits if the Uruguay Round fell apart,'' he said. APEC member countries might be able to reach some sort of agreement which would help, he said, while stressing that he did not mean the setting up of a regional trade bloc. ''We are now firmly in the central huddle, making a bit of a nuisance of ourselves by constantly reminding everyone [in APEC] of the value to us all of a strong multilateral system, and insisting that nothing is done to weaken it,'' he said. He said he would repeat that message next week at an APEC senior officials' meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. He also said China's inflation-curbing attempts were good news for Hong Kong. ''It certainly should mean a better chance of achieving Hong Kong's long-term annual economic growth forecast of five per cent in the years ahead, given steadier, more controlled growth across the border,'' he said. That was despite the possible effect of a slight cut in the rate of short-term economic growth. However, he said the trade figures so far had reflected little impact. and forecast for gross domestic product growth this year still stood at 5.5 per cent.