WHEN THE PEOPLE at the Trade Development Council (TDC) decide to hold an industry fair it is entirely understandable that they should wish to present as bright a picture as possible for that industry. Thus their publicity material for the annual watch and clock fair that starts on September 1 spoke of an 8 per cent increase to $20.7 billion in Hong Kong's watch and clock exports for the first half of this year. Funny about those figures. When I checked them with the official government statistics I came up with entirely different ones. Mine say that domestic exports of watches and clocks for the first half amounted to only $409 million, which is down 5 per cent from the previous year and amounts to barely 7 per cent of their value 10 years ago. At their present level, they amount to only two thirds of 1 per cent of Hong Kong's total domestic exports. To put this industry into perspective, look at the chart. The top bar represents our total exports for the year to June in trillions of Hong Kong dollars. The next bar down represents our domestic exports on the same measure. I now have a question to ask you. Can you see a third bar on this chart? I could not do so with the graphics program on my laptop but I never see the final printed version of my charts before they are published in this newspaper. I have learned to trust our graphics people to get it right and they invariably do so. Rest assured, however, that there is a third bar. It represents the annual value of our domestic watch and clock exports. It is a big industry for us, as you can see, well worth the staging of a trade show of its own by the TDC. Okay, okay, I can guess what the TDC has done here. It has included re-exports of watches and clocks along with our domestic exports of them. The reasoning, I suppose, is that we are all one happy family with exporters on the mainland and we promote ourselves to some extent if we promote mainland re-exports. But let us get this much straight. The term 're-exports' implies some added-value processing in Hong Kong, at least 5 per cent, while the fact of the matter is that almost all of this trade goes straight from the border to the docks with no input here at all other than container terminal fees and an adjustment of stated export value to avoid mainland tax collectors. We might as well ask Panama to co-sponsor a Hong Kong watch and clock fair for all that we benefit from re-exports of them. Panama possibly collects as much of a throughput toll for their passage through the Panama Canal. And if the TDC wishes to say that promoting mainland re-exports helps promote our service industries, then my suggestion is that we not take the roundabout route but promote these service industries directly. The difficulty with this idea, however, is that there is not much the TDC can do to promote banking, transportation and tourism that banks, shipping companies and the Hong Kong Tourism Board cannot do themselves. Hence watches and clocks it remains. YOU MAY BE interested to know that the Society of Registered Financial Planners has organised a Hong Kong Financial Planner of the Year Award and has got its priorities right for its members. The heaviest weighting in the criteria for assessment, 40 per cent, is for presentation. Put yourself in the shoes of a financial planner. His objective is the natural one of winning as many clients as possible and thus making money for himself. Obviously, a good way of doing it is to make as much money as possible for his clients who will then reward him for his sage planning advice. But this is by no means easy and is really only one means to an end. Whether his clients make or lose money, his purpose is best served if they do it though him, which is why there is a heavy emphasis on the initial sales pitch in this industry, one that the society has now formally recognised by giving presentation more weight than anything else in the criteria for its award. Think about that if you decide to go to a financial planner for advice. You have common objectives. You both want to make money for yourselves. His emphasis for doing it, however, is not necessarily the same as yours.